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Brigliam Young University-ldalio 




Stanley B. Kimball, Ph.D. 
May 1991 

JUL 1 5 ^^^^ 


United States Department of the Interior/National Park Service 


Preface/ 1 

Chapter 1 - INTRODUCTION/3 

The Mormon Trail in Historic Perspective/3 

Sketch of Mormon History: 1830-1846/5 

Mormon BeUefs/7 

Growing Interest in the Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail/8 

Name of the Trail/9 

Mormon Motivation/9 

The Perpetual Emigration Fund/10 

Trail Experience in Mormon History/ 11 

Reading, Interpreting and Protecting Trail Ruts/ 11 


The Great Trek: General Comments/ 13 

Points of Departure and Time Periods/ 14 

Wagons, Draft Animals, Speed of Travel/ 15 

Communication/ 16 

Problems of Illness, Stress, Privacy, and Traveling/ 17 

Routine, Rules, Discipline, Constitutions/ 18 

Trail Larder/20 

Women Emigrants/20 

Little Emigrants, Children/23 

Indian Relations/24 

Blacks on the Trail/26 

Foreign Mormon Emigrants/26 

Non-Mormons on the Trail/27 

Mormon Interest in the Far West to 1846/27 

Western Travel Accounts Consulted by the Mormons/29 

Western Maps Consulted by the Mormons/31 

Western Travelers Consulted by the Mormons/32 

Mormons and the Environment/33 

Chapter 3 - ACROSS IOWA IN 1846/35 

Leaving Nauvoo/35 

Trek Commences/Difficulties/Skills Learned/36 

Organization Improved/38 

"Come, Come Ye Saints" Composed/39 

Garden Grove Established/39 

Mount Pisgah Established/39 

Council Bluffs Reached/40 


Council Bluffs General Area/41 

Mormon Camps and Communities/41 

Indian Relations/42 

The Mormon Battalion/43 

Camps West of Missouri River/43 

Cold Spring and Cutler's Park/44 

Winter Quarters/44 
Mormons and Trail-Side Services/45 
Winter Quarters Abandoned/46 

Chapter 5 - THE PIONEER TREK OF 1847/47 



Scientific Instruments and Observations/49 

Staging Ground/50 

1847 Trek Begins/51 

The Trail/Divisions and Topography /52 

Part I, Winter Quarters to Kearney, Nebraska/54 

Part II, Kearney to Fort Laramie/54 

Part III, Fort Laramie to Fort Bridger/57 

Part IV, Fort Bridger to Valley of the Great Salt Lake/59 
Establishment of a Colony and Return to Winter Quarters/62 

Chapter 6 - MORMON EMIGRANTS: 1848-1868/63 

General Comments/63 

Wagon Emigrants, 1848-1860/63 

Canal Boats, Lake Boats, and Riverboats/64 
The Handcart Emigrants, 1856-1860/65 

The Brigham Young Express Company, 1856-1857/69 
Church Team Emigrants, 1860-1868/70 
"Rail and Trail" Pioneers: 1856-1868/72 
Trail Preservation and Marking/74 
Suggestions for Further Research on the Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail/74 


Recommendations to the National Register/75 



Kanesville/Council Bluffs Area/81 



Winter Quarters Area Historic Sites/82 

APPENDIX A: Maps/103 

New York Saints Trail, 1831/105 

Zion's Camp Trail, 1834/107 

The Fremont-Preuss Map, 1843/112 

S.A. Mitchell's New Map of Texas, Oregon, and California, 1846/113 

Major S.H. Long's 1823 Map of the Country Drained by the Mississippi/ 115 

Mormon Trail Across Iowa, 1846/116 

Mormon Trail Across Nebraska, 1847/117 

Mormon Trail Across Wyoming, 1847/118 

Mormon Trail In Utah, 1847/120 

The Handcart Trail Across Iowa, 1855-1857/121 

The Nebraska City Cutoff Trail, 1864-1866/122 

The Overland-Bridger Pass Trail, 1862-1868/123 

Sketch Map of Council Bluffs-Winter Quarters Area, 1846-1853/124 

Sketch Map of Winter Quarters, 1846-1847/125 

National Trails System, 1986/126 

APPENDIX B: Documents/ 127 

Bill of Particulars, 1845/129 

Mormon Hymn, "Come, Come Ye Saints"/ 130 

Roster of Pioneer Camp, 1847/131 

"The Word and Will of the Lord" to Brigham Young, 1847/132 

Andrew Jenson's Tabulation of the Number of Mormon Emigrants by Year/ 135 

Pioneer Companies That Crossed the Plains, 1847-1868/136 

APPENDIX C: Biographical Sketches/ 151 

Eliza Roxcy Snow/ 153 
Patty Bartlett Sessions/ 154 
Brigham Young/155 
Heber Chase Kimball/156 
Parley Parker Pratt/ 157 
Peter Haws/ 158 
John Taylor/ 159 
George Miller/160 
William Clayton/161 
Orson Pratt/ 162 
Wilford Woodruff/163 


APPENDIX D: Illustrations/ 165 

Bone Mail/167 

Eliza Roxcy Snow/ 168 

Patty Bartlett Sessions/ 169 

Brigham Young, 1853/170 

1846 Exodus from Nauvoo/171 

Heber C. Kimball, 1853/172 

Parley Parker Pratt/ 173 

John Taylor, 1853/174 

William Clayton/ 175 

Garden Grove, Iowa/ 176 

Peter Hansen's Drawing of Mount Pisgah, Iowa, 1846/177 

Mormon Trail Ruts, Adair County, Iowa/ 178 

Council Bluffs, Iowa, 1853/179 

Peter Hansen's Drawing of Cutler's Park, Nebraska, 1846/180 

Winter Quarters' Cemetery, Nebraska/ 181 

Orson Pratt/ 182 

Loup River, 1853/183 

Wm. Clayton's Emigrants' Guide, 1848/184 

Sand Hill Trail Ruts, Nebraska/186 

Ancient Ruins Bluffs, Nebraska/ 187 

Rebecca Winter's Grave, Nebraska/ 188 

Laramie's Peak, Wyoming/ 189 

Mexican Hill, Wyoming/ 190 

Guernsey Ruts, Wyoming/ 191 

Devil's Gate, Wyoming/ 192 

Martin's Cove Handcart Site, Wyoming/ 193 

Split Rock Ruts, Wyoming/194 

Willie's Handcart Site, Wyoming/ 195 

Church Butte, Wyoming/ 196 

Fort Bridge r, Wyoming/ 197 

Cache Cave, Utah/ 198 

Mormon Emigrants in Echo Canyon, Utah, 1860/199 

Mormon Emigrant Company in Echo Canyon, Utah, 1867/200 

Wilford Woodruff/201 

Handcart Family/202 




This historic resource study was prepared to identify and evaluate the historic events and 
resources related to the Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail. The study will be 
distributed by the National Park Service to federal, state, local, and private entities along 
the trail to enable them to better interpret a common body of history to interested parties. 

The study focuses on the history of the trail from its official beginning in Nauvoo, Illinois, 
to its terminus in Salt Lake City, Utah, during the period 1846-1869. During that time, 
thousands of Mormon emigrants used many trails and trail variants to reach Utah. This 
study emphasizes the "Pioneer Route" or " Brigham Young Route" of 1846-1847. 

The document is divided into four parts. The first includes a discussion of Mormon history 
and behefs, reasons for going west, a background of the whole emigration, and the story of 
the trek across Iowa in 1846. The second provides a detailed account of the crossing of the 
plains during the years 1847 through 1868 by wagon emigrants, handcarters, church team 
emigrants, and "rail to trail" emigrants. The third part identifies and evaluates historic 
resources along the trail. And the fourth part consists of four appendices, keyed to the text, 
containing documents about the trail and the Mormons. 

Several of my ancestors "crossed the plains," and I have personally traveled every trail 
mentioned in this study many times since 1963, and have annotated more than 900 
contemporary Mormon Trail accounts. 

I would like to acknowledge the help, advice, and support I have received in this work. 
Michael Snyder and Michael Duwe of the Rocky Mountain Regional Office of the National 
Park Service have been supportive from the inception of this project. I wish also to thank 
two outside readers, Charles S. Peterson and Thomas G. Alexander, who read the entire 
manuscript and offered many helpful suggestions. Especially I must thank Jere Krakow 
of the National Park Service's Denver Service Center, for critiquing and improving every 
draft of this work, and for guiding me in its preparation. 

Stanley B. Kimball 

Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville 

Chapter 1 


To place the Mormons and the Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail in historical 
perspective is difficult, for they were both unique as well as uniquely American. Most 
Mormons tend to emphasize that which is unique in their history. This is an outgrowth 
of their theology, which teaches that they are a unique people, a Chosen People, a "peculiar 
people." They call themselves Latter-day Saints to both distinguish themselves from and 
identify themselves with the "Former-day Saints" of the New Testament, and to stress their 
difference from all other Christians of today. (See "Mormon Beliefs," page 7.) 

In no way do Mormons stress their uniqueness more than in reference to their exodus, 
their move west between 1846 and 1869, from Illinois to what is now called Utah. Mormon 
scholars have discovered at least ten "Uncommon Aspects of the Mormon Migration."^ 
These unique aspects are: A religiously motivated migration; the economic status of the 
participants; Mormons did not employ professional guides; non-frontiersmen were quickly 
transformed into pioneers; the migration of families; the Mormon Trail was a two-way road; 
the magnanimous aspect of the Mormon migration; the organization of Mormon wagon 
trains; respect for life and death; and the Mormon migration was a movement of a 
community. In this study, the author often refers to these uncommon aspects. Other 
authors like Wallace Stegner and Bernard De Voto also stress these unique aspects.^ 

While there is nothing wrong with stressing the uncommon aspects of the Mormon westward 
movement, they are only part of the story. A truer account would present the Mormon 
migration within its proper historic context, as a part of the great westering movement of 
the mid-nineteenth century; as part of a national experience. 

In many ways the Mormons were very much like their contemporary Oregonians and 
Californians. West of the Missouri River they shared trails, campgrounds, ferries, triumphs, 
tragedies, and common trail experiences of the day, with thousands of other westering 
Americans. Their daily routine, their food, wagons, animals, sicknesses, dangers, difficulties. 

"■ T. Edgar Lyon, "Some Uncommon Aspects of the Mormon Migration," Improvement 
Era, (September 1969): 33-40. 

^ Wallace Stegner, The Gathering ofZion (New York: McGraw Hill, 1971), and Bernard 
Devoto, The Year of Decision: 1846 (Boston: Little Brown and Co., 1943). 


domestic affairs, trail constitutions, discipline, the blurring of sexual distinctions relative to 
work, and so forth, were typical.^ 

The Mormons of the 1840s through the 1860s were very much a part of the great westward 
surge that began in the 1820s when fur trappers started exploring the west, searching out 
mountain passes for vital water sources and continued through the westering activities of 
traders, missionaries, and land-hungry settlers, to the completion of the transcontinental 
railroad in 1869. The Mormons were part of the idea and the realization of the doctrine 
of Manifest Destiny, the great reconnaissance of the west, and they contributed to the 
growth of white supremacy in the west. For the most part, the Mormons used the trails 
already blazed by earlier westering Americans. Many Americans had preceded the 
Mormons on trips west of the Missouri River. Travel on the Santa Fe Trail commenced 
as early as 1821, with the trader Wilham Becknell from Missouri, and the numbers of 
travelers increased until the Santa Fe Railway passed Santa Fe in 1880. This trail, however, 
was largely a commercial and military road, used by few emigrants. (In 1853, some Texas 
converts did use the trail to pick up the Mormon Trail in Wyoming.) 

The first significant emigrant movement to Oregon began in 1841, when sixty-nine men, 
women, and children, comprising the Bidwell-Bartleson party, left from Independence, 
Missouri. Thereafter, increasingly large emigrant parties used the Missouri River as a 
"jumping off point (staging site) for Oregon. That same year, the Bidwell-Bartleson party 
also initiated the first significant emigrant movement into California. When the Bidwell- 
Bartleson party reached Fort Hall in what is now called Idaho, it split. About half 
continued on to Oregon, while the remainder blazed a dangerous route across desert and 
mountains into the lower San Joaquin Valley of what is now California. Thereafter, as on 
the Oregon Trail, increasingly larger parties immigrated to California. Eventually more 
than 300,000 (no one knows how many) emigrants went to Oregon and California. The 
some 70,000 Mormons who immigrated to their new Zion were very much a part of this 
national westward movement. 

Furthermore, during the trans-Missouri Mormon emigrant period (and generally along the 
route of the Mormon Trail) the Pony Express rose and fell, and the transcontinental 
telegraph line and the Union Pacific Railroad were completed. Stage freight and mail 
service to Salt Lake were inaugurated and federal wagon roads were surveyed and 
constructed. The Mormons were, in one way or another, involved with all these ventures. 
They, for example, helped supply and build the telegraph line and the railroad, helped 
construct federal roads, proposed some freighting and mail services, and during the Civil 
War, provided guard service for ninety days, protecting the overland mail and telegraph in 
southern Wyoming. To see the relationship of the Mormon Trail to the Oregon, California, 
and the later Pony Express Trail, refer to Appendix A, Map 15. 

^ See for example the chapter The Overlanders in Historical Perspective," John D. 
Unruh, Jr., The Plains Across: The Overland Emigrants and the Trans-Mississippi West, 
1840-1860 (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1970). 

Sketch of Mormon History: 1830-1846 


Mormon history officially began April 6, 1830, when Joseph Smith (1805-1844) organized 
the Mormon Church (officially known today as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day 
Saints) in Fayette, Seneca County, New York, in accordance with the laws of that state."* 

Although the new church grew well and the western New York and northern Pennsylvania 
area proved to be a fertile ground for missionary activities, Smith believed God had 
revealed to him in January 1831 that the church should move to the area of Kirtland, Ohio, 
and by that spring, the church was headquartered there5 The author has called this 
migration "The New York Saints Trail: The First Mormon Trail West." It started in 
Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania, and proceeded through Ithaca, New York, Lake Cayuga, 
the Erie Canal, Rochester, and Buffalo New York. (See Appendix A, Map 1.) 

Shortly after the move to Ohio, for reasons that are not entirely clear, but which surely 
included the concept of "the gathering" and a desire to convert Indians, Smith established 
a second headquarters in Jackson County, Missouri, and for the years 1831 to 1837, there 
were two centers of the church.^ 

New England Mormons were very unpopular in rather wild western Missouri for several 
reasons. In addition to having a strange faith that labeled all other churches wrong, that 
professed Smith talked with God, and that claimed western Missouri was to become their 
"inheritance," the Mormons were clannish, economically better off, and were against slavery. 
Trouble with rough frontier Missourians was not long in coming, and by November 1833, 
most Mormons were driven from Jackson County into adjacent Clay County.^ 

"* For the best single-volume history of the Mormons, see James B. Allen and Glen M. 
Leonard, The Story of the Latter-day Saints, (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1976). 
That book's bibliography is the most useful in print to its date of publication. The book 
may well serve as the standard reference on Mormon history and beliefs to all users of 
this Historic Resource Study. 

^ For a survey of Mormon history in Ohio, see Milton V. Backman, Jr., The Quest for 
a Restoration: The Birth of Mormonism in Ohio," Brigham Young University Studies, 12, 
(Summer 1972), 346-64. 

^ Warren A. Jennings, The Expulsion of the Mormons from Jackson County, 
Missouri," l\/lissouri Historical Review 64, (October 1969), 41-63. 

^ The best recent study of this is Stephen C. LeSuer, The 1838 Mormon \Nar in 
Missouri (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1987). 


It was in 1834 that Smith formed and led a paramilitary unit known as Zion's Camp on a 
900-mile march from church headquarters in Ohio to western Missouri, in an attempt to 
restore the Missouri Mormons to the lands from which they had been driven.® This trail 
started in Kirtland, Ohio, and proceeded via Akron, Mansfield, and Dayton, Ohio; 
Richmond, Indianapohs, and Chnton, Indiana; Paris, Decatur, Springfield and Pittsfield, 
Illinois; Louisiana, Moberly, and Richmond, to near Liberty, Missouri. (See Appendix A, 
Map 2.) This journey was plagued by cholera and redressed no wrongs, but it gave the 
Mormons some basic training in moving large numbers of people, and it helped prepare 
them for the exodus west in 1846-1847. 

The Mormons stayed in Clay County until the summer of 1836, when they were pressured 
to move northeast into the almost uninhabited upper part of Ray County. They centered 
in a settlement named Far West, in what became Caldwell County. 

The new church continued to grow well in Ohio and Missouri, but early in 1838, 
misunderstandings and apostasy forced Smith to move himself and as many of his followers 
as he could, from Ohio to Far West. 

The troubles that broke out in Missouri during August 1838 were the beginning of the end 
for the Mormons in Missouri. By November of that year the general expulsion from 
Missouri was well under way, and by spring 1839, nearly all the Mormons in Missouri had 
fled to Iowa and to Illinois. 

In the spring of 1839, Smith again set up church headquarters at a new settlement in Illinois 
named Nauvoo-derived from a Hebrew root meaning a beautiful place or the "green 
pastures" of the 23rd Psalm. The sparsely settled, twenty-one-year-old state of Illinois 
welcomed these new taxpayers and Nauvoo quickly became one of the largest cities in 
lUinois.^ It was the Mormon headquarters for seven years, during which time the church 
flourished and even sent missionaries to Europe. The Mormons did not long enjoy the 
fruits of their industry and dedication. Hostility, suspicions, and trouble increased in direct 
proportion to their growth and success. The political, economic, social, and religious 
problems (including from 1841, the new teaching and practice of polygamy, and unusual and 
secret temple ordinances) that had previously caused trouble in Ohio and Missouri, led to 
their expulsion from Illinois early in 1846. 

° The best study of Zion's Camp is Roger D. Launius, Zion's Camp (Independence, 
Mo.: Herald Publishing House, 1984.) See also Milton V. Backman's The Heavens 
Resound (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1983). 

^ An excellent study of the Nauvoo period in Mormon history is Robert B. Flanders' 
Kingdom on ttie l\/1ississippi (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1965). See also David 
Miller and Delia Miller, Nauvoo: Ttie City of Josepli (Santa Barbara: Peregrine Smith, 

Mormon Beliefs 

This time, however, the Mormons would not move from one state to another. Instead 
they decided to leave the United States and settle in the Far West, in what was then 
Mexico, in a new Zion somewhere in the Rocky Mountain area. 


The best and easiest way to understand Mormonism and Mormons; to comprehend why 
they were persecuted in Jacksonian America from their beginnings through most of the 
19th century; to grasp why they not only endured persecution, but even flourished because 
of and in spite of it; to understand why they were driven from New York to Ohio, to 
Missouri, to Illinois, and finally, out of the United States; and to understand why they were 
so successful in "westering," pioneering, and in colonizing the Far West, is to first, think of 
Christian churches in three categories: Catholic, Protestant, and Restored. 

Mormons do not consider themselves Protestant, or Catholic. They are not a breakaway 
from any other church, and they are not a reformed group. They believe they are the 
"only true church," the true church of Jesus Christ "restored" in these latter days; they 
believe they are modern Children of Israel led by prophets, Joseph Smith being the first. 
Today Mormons believe their prophets, from Smith to Ezra Taft Benson, speak for God, 
as did the prophets of the Old Testament.^" 

This belief in modern-day prophets explains why Mormons were (and are) so disciplined, 
why they could accomplish what they did on the frontier, on their immigrating trails, and 
in the valley of the Great Salt Lake. Since their prophets speak for God, Mormons believe 
that what they are told to do is God's will and little else matters. Certainly persecution 
could not be allowed to deter them in their duty. Orthodox Mormons are first Mormons 
and all else second. They believe it is their imperative, their main purpose in life, to 
proclaim the restoration of the gospel to the world, no matter what the cost. They take 
persecution to be a sure sign that they are right. It is Satan attempting to thwart their 

Another important point in understanding Mormons and their discipline and concept of 
authority is the fact that all worthy Mormon males from the age of twelve "hold the 
priesthood." They are ordained to certain graded priestly offices, and they share, in varying 
degrees, the administration of the church. They are expected to honor this blessing or 
opportunity. They are granted authority by one holding a higher priesthood, and those over 
whom they preside are expected to be obedient. There is no paid clergy; the Mormon 

^° A good study of Mormon theology is Bruce McConkie, Mormon Doctrine (Salt Lake 
City: Deseret Book Co., 1958). 

'' Ibid. 


Church is strictly a lay organization. In trail days, as in the present, when the priesthood 
speaks, Mormons are expected to act accordingly J ^ 

It seems clear that Joseph Smith was affected by the religious fervor of the Second Great 
Awakening, which began in New England in the 1790s and spread rapidly. Western New 
York of Smith's time was so affected with spiritual awakenings and revivals that it is often 
called the burned-over district. Many books and articles have been written attempting to 
show that Smith; the Book of Mormon, a "new testament for Christ," a New World bible 
translated by Smith from golden plates in 1830; and other distinctive teachings and beliefs 
of the Mormon Church derive from the mid- 19th century phase of the Second Great 
Awakening.^ ^ Whether one accepts Mormon beliefs or not, does not change the fact that 
early Mormons thought they were modern Children of Israel and that is the key to 
understanding what motivated them. 


We are in the midst of a great American western trails renaissance. Our historic trails are 
now becoming better known, more fully appreciated, more carefully preserved, and more 
clearly marked. In 1968, Congress enacted the National Trails System Act (Public Law 
90-543) and in 1978, added National Historic Trail designations. Also several publishers 
are devoted almost exclusively to trail publications. Additionally there has been a yearly 
increase in county, state, and federal road signs pointing out historic sites and markers 
connected with trail history. As further evidence of the renewal of interest in western trails, 
there has been an annual increase in the number of markers, parks, schools, businesses, 
museums, exhibits, events, and tourist attractions developed that pertain to and celebrate 
the Mormon Trail. 

All this fascination with the Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail (hereafter MPNHT) 
is well deserved. Interest has never been greater than it is today. There seems to be a 
direct relationship between the speed with which we destroy our national heritage and our 
desire to write and read about it, and to go in search of it, to experience the power of 
place and the spirit of locale. Nowhere is this more true than with our great western trails. 
For more than twenty years, concern for the trails has been growing. Excellent books have 
been published, preservation and historical societies have been organized, and there is no 

^^ For a full discussion of the Mormon priesthood, see McConkie. 


Whitney R. Cross, The Burned-Over District: The Social and Inteilectual History of 
Enthusiastic Religion in Western New York: 1800-1850 (New York: Cornell University 
Press, 1950). 


Monnon Motivation 

evidence that this special and general interest is waning. The belief, however, that the 
MPNHT was a Mormon creation or discovery is a mistaken one. 


It may be that of the thousands of miles of trails and roads the Mormons used during their 
migrations from New York to Utah, between 1831 and 1868, they actually blazed less than 
1 mile. This one bit of authenticated trail-blazing lies between Donner Hill and the mouth 
of Emigration Canyon, just east of Salt Lake City. The Mormons were not looking for a 
place in history books. They had a job to do and they did it as easily and as expeditiously 
as possible, always using the best roads available. 


Although the MPNHT was not blazed by the Mormons and has at various times been 
known as the Council Bluffs Road, the Omaha Road, the Great Platte River Road, the 
Omaha-Fort Kearny Military Road, and the North Branch of the Oregon Trail, it is best 
and almost universally known today as "the Mormon Trail."' 

Ill 5 


It is a curious fact that the Mormons, who did not want to go west in the first place, were 
among the most successful in doing so. Mormons, in as much as they did not go west for 
a new identity, missionary work, adventure, furs, land, health, or gold, but were driven 
beyond the frontier for their religious beliefs, were not typical westering Americans. While 
their trail experience was similar to other westering Americans, their motivation was 
different. It hardly seems necessary to document such a well known fact, but it will be 
helpful, in this respect, to refer to the city of Nauvoo, Illinois, itself. It was not a typical 
frontier community, nor did it resemble other frontier communities peopled by those 
pushing west, Nauvoo, rather, resembled an established New England city. It contained 
the many brick and substantial frame homes of people intending to remain, not the 
temporary log cabins of people on the move. 

The pioneer group was not concerned with just getting themselves safely settled, but with 
making the road easier for others of their faith to follow. Furthermore, the Mormons 
moved as villages on wheels, transplanting an entire people, rather than isolated, unrelated 
groups as was the case with the Oregon and CaHfornia migrations. 

^'^ The belief is based on the fact that so many Mormons used the trail for such a long 
time. The fact they used trails already in existence was somehow forgotten. 

^^ For a thorough discussion of the name problem, see Merrill J. Mattes, The Great 
Platte River Road (Lincoln: Nebraska State Historical Society, 1969). 


As previously noted, Mormons differed from most westering Americans in several important 
ways. Not only did the Mormons not want to go west, but they were generally much poorer 
than the average CaHfornia or Oregon migrants. Mormons used no professional guides, but 
they did consult many contemporary guidebooks, reports, and maps. Furthermore, many 
Saints were not rugged frontier types who had come from pioneering stock. Most, 
especially the European urban converts, had little experience with rural life at all; they 
traveled generally as famihes, not as individuals; the Mormon Trail was a two-way road, 
hundreds-missionaries, "go backs," or disenchanted Mormons, and church wagon trains 
hauling emigrants from the Missouri River-traveled eastward on the trail. Mormons were 
conditioned by religious convictions; they followed a chain of command, maintained 
organized groups and trail discipline. Consequently, the Mormons are generally considered 
to have been some of the most systematic, organized, and disciplined pioneers and 
colonizers in United States' history.^^ 


Another unusual aspect of the Mormon emigration, was the Perpetual Emigration Fund, 
one of the biggest single enterprises undertaken by the Mormons in the nineteenth 
century.^'' Begun in 1850, the idea was that the church would create a revolving (or 
perpetual) fund to aid the poor, especially the poor European emigrants. Those helped 
by the fund were expected to reimburse it after settling in the American West. 

Perpetual Emigration Fund (PEF) agents in Europe chartered ships, or special sections of 
ships, at reduced fares, and other PEF agents in New York, Boston, Philadelphia, New 
Orleans, and St. Louis helped make travel arrangements, at reduced costs, for the overland 
journey to Utah. 

Initially the fund accomplished its main purpose well. Between 1850 and 1859 the fund 
brought 4,769 emigrants to Zion at a cost of $300,000. By the time of its demise in 1887, 
the fund had helped to emigrate more than 100,000 people, at a total cost of about 
$12,500,000. The Saints were slow, however, in paying back their advances. By 1877, 
$1,000,000 was owned to the fund. Ten years later the PEF was dissolved. 



Lyon, "Some Uncommon Aspects of the Mormon Migration. 

Leonard J. Arrington, Great Basin Kingdom (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 
1966), 381-382; Stanley B. Kimball, Heber C. Kimball: Mormon Patriarch and Pioneer 
(Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1981), 191; and Allen and Leonard, The Story of the 
Latter-day Saints, 281-287. 


TTie Trail Experience in Mormon History 


The experience of the trail, the crossing of the plains, turned into a great event not only 
in the lives of the pioneers, but in the minds of their descendants. It became a rite of 
passage, the final test of faithJ^ The contemporary Mormon is prouder of nothing in their 
heritage than of their ancestors who "crossed the plains" for the sake of religious freedom. 
Even modern Mormons who have no pioneer ancestors vicariously share this heritage. 

Today a special mythology and clouds of glory surround the Mormon Pioneers. The most 
important honor societies in Mormondom pertain to these pioneers. Many Mormons 
belong to the Sons of Utah Pioneers or the Daughters of Utah Pioneers, whereas no similar 
societies exist for the founders, the original apostles, or the members of Zion's Camp. 
Throughout the world Mormons regularly celebrate July 24th as Pioneer Day. It was on 
this date in 1847, that the pioneers entered the valley. 


In trail days, "reading trail" or "reading [Indian] sign" was vital to the welfare of emigrants. 
This science made use of any evidence that something or someone had been over the 
ground. An experienced scout could tell from a broken blade of grass, disturbed soil, 
tracks, a bead, a feather, or dung, such things as what game was near; how many Indians 
of what tribe had proceeded, when and in what direction; the number of horses, how fast 
they had been moving, and whether they had been mounted or stolen; whether it had been 
a hunting party or a whole camp moving; whether an individual had been walking, running, 
or attempting to leave a false trail. 

Today reading trail can be a rewarding pastime as well as essential for serious trail students. 
And, since authentic trail ruts are the most valuable and interesting resources connected 
with historic trails, something should be said here about reading and interpreting them. 

Because so many current ranch and energy trails and roads look more like the old trails 
than the old trails do, it is not always easy to identify authentic trail ruts. There are, 
however, some guidelines. The romantic notion that trail ruts are always two lines 
stretching into the sunset is just that, romantic. Where possible, westering Americans 
usually traveled several abreast to avoid breathing dust. All kinds of parallel trail ruts also 
developed because of water, land features, or browse. Swales (saucer-shaped depressions) 
in the landscape 50 to 100 feet wide, developed where wagons traveled abreast and close 
to each other. At other times, what would properly be called "trail corridors" (up to 1 mile 
wide) developed. 


Stegner, The Gathering of Zion, 1 . 



Trail followers should do their homework and have good maps so that they know in 
advance approximately where trail ruts should be. Most modern trails, or disturbed land 
(a buried pipeline for instance) run straighter than the old trails. That modern tire tracks 
can be seen only means someone recently drove down the old trail. 

One should study the overall terrain well, especially the vegetation. Sometimes the 
vegetation is fuller in old ruts, sometimes it is sparse. In some areas where the hard topsoil 
was broken up (and continually fertilized by the draft animals) rain water penetrated deeper 
and, as a result, the growth is more lush, even today. It is also true that ruts tend to collect 
water, which aids growth. In some instances, however, the broken topsoil was simply blown 
away, leaving a poorer subsoil which, even today, supports only sparse growth. The best 
way to learn to read trail is by experience. 

In the matter of protecting trail ruts, someone once said in reference to following the old 
trails, "Take nothing but photographs; leave nothing but footprints." Good advice. Ruts 
are not as fragile as many think. They were created, after all, by plodding animals pulling 
wagons weighing tons and rolling on iron tires! They can be damaged, however, by careless 
use of motorcycles and ORVs, and totally destroyed by road crews, agriculture, urban 
sprawl, utility corridors, pipelines, mining and other extractive industries, and a host of other 
modern activities. Walking in ruts seldom causes damage to them, it may even help 
preserve them. Even careful driving in ruts might do no harm. Proper management, 
legislation, and parameters for use should be sought. 


Chapter 2 


We can now turn to a discussion of the Mormon move to the Far West, the story of the 
Mormon Trail. From its beginning in 1846, to the completion of the transcontinental 
railroad in 1869, the Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail, stretching from Nauvoo, 
Illinois, to what is now Salt Lake City, Utah, has captivated the fancy of both Mormons and 
non-Mormons, and is one of the most written-about trails in all history. Hundreds of 
journals were kept during the twenty-two years the Mormons used the trail. Many books 
and articles and hundreds of stories have been written about it, as well. (For further 
reading see the bibliography at the end of this study.) 

As noted in the introduction, westering Mormons were very much a part of a general move 
to the west that happened in the 19th century. In spite of all the unique aspects of their 
move to the west, as detailed in this study, the Mormons were still much like the 
Oregonians and Californians. 

The great trek, although the most important segment, was only part of the story of the 
Mormon westward movement. During the thirty-seven years (1831-1868) of Mormon 
immigration to various church headquarters in Ohio, Missouri, Illinois, and Utah, from their 
removal from New York to Ohio in 1831, through the arrival of the first European converts 
in New York City in 1840, to the "wedding of the rails" in 1869, Mormons developed or 
used at least twenty-two points of departure, or staging grounds and many other trails. 

Several other trails directly related to the MPNHT will be mentioned briefly in this 
study-The New York Saints Trail, The Zion's Camp Trail, The Nebraska City Cutoff Trail, 
and the Overland-Bridger Pass Trail. Other trails used by immigrating Mormons, such as 
the Mississippi Saints Trail, the Santa Fe Trail, the Mormon Grove Trail, the Dragoon 
Trail, The Golden Road, and The Ox-Bow will not be treated in this study. In one way or 
another, however, all westering Mormons eventually intersected the famous MPNHT of 
1846-1847 and followed it to their Zion. (However, this historic resource study is restricted 
largely to the Nauvoo to Salt Lake City route during the years 1846- 1868. y 

^ Readers are referred to Stanley B. Kimball, Historic Sites and Mariners Along the 
Mormon and Other Great Western Trails, (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1988) for 
a discussion of these trails. This book may well be used as a basic reference work for 
all trail matters and trail markers referred to in this Historic Resource Study. 




The Mormons used many points of departure during their emigration period. Only the first 
two groups of European emigrants in 1840 sailed to New York City; thereafter for fifteen 
years, all emigrants sailed to New Orleans and then traveled up the Mississippi River to 
various other points of departure. Until 1845 they went straight to Nauvoo, Illinois, where 
The Exodus of 1846 commenced. Afterwards many other jumping-off places to the Far 
West were developed: 

Winter Quarters (Florence, now North Omaha), Nebraska, 1847-1848 

Council Bluffs, Iowa, 1847-1852 

St. Louis, Missouri, 1852 

Keokuk, Iowa, 1853 

Westport, Missouri, 1854 

Mormon Grove, Kansas, 1855-1856 

Iowa City, Iowa, 1856-1857 

Florence, Nebraska, 1856-1863 

St. Joseph, Missouri, 1859 

Genoa, Nebraska, 1859 

Wyoming, Nebraska, 1864-1866 

The Union Pacific Railroad began moving west from Omaha on July 10, 1865. Thereafter, 
Mormons took trains from Omaha to three different railheads. 

North Platte, Nebraska, 1867 

Laramie City, Wyoming, 1868 

Benton, Wyoming, 1868 

While the trans-Missouri section of the MPNHT was used extensively by the Mormons 
between 1847 through 1868, the Iowa segment of the trail was used much less. The Iowa 
portion was used by the pioneers in 1846, by a few companies from Keokuk in 1853, and 
by seven handcart companies in 1855-1857. Furthermore, the segment of the original 
pioneer trail of 1846 between Drakesville, Davis County, and Garden Grove, Decatur 


Wagons, Draft Animals, Speed of Travel 

County, may have been used but once or twice, because it was too far south and too close 
to Missouri, where the Mormons had been persecuted in the 1830s. At Drakesville, shorter 
variants more to the north originated. The handcarters followed the 1846 trail in Iowa only 
from what is now Lewis, in Cass County. 

Four time periods will be treated in this study: 

Between 1846-1860, the Mormons generally went west in wagon trains organized 
at different points of departure. 

Between 1855-1860, they experimented with handcarts. 

Thereafter, during the years 1861-1866, the Mormons switched to large ox-team 
church trains sent out from Salt Lake City to haul emigrants and freight west. 

And, finally, during 1867-1868, they came by "rail and trail." 

After 1869, Mormons who came west by trail were dubbed "Pullman Pioneers." ^ Only 
those Mormons, for example, with ancestors who came to Utah before 1869 can become 
members of the Sons of Utah Pioneers or the Daughters of Utah Pioneers. 


The Saints used all kinds of wagons and carriages, but mostly they used ordinary reinforced 
farm wagons, which were about ten feet long, arched over by cloth or waterproof canvas 
that could be closed at each end-almost never the huge, lumbering Conestoga wagons 
beloved by Hollywood. Because the wagons had to cross rivers, the bottoms were usually 
caulked or covered with canvas so they would float. While the ubiquitous white tops, or 
covered wagons, of the era may not have been ideal for travel (they were uncomfortable 
to ride in, broke down, were slow and cumbersome), they were the most efficient means 
of hauling goods. FamiUes en route could live in, on, alongside, and under these 
animal-drawn mobile homes, and at the end of the trail, they could become temporary 
homes until real houses could be erected. 

The pioneers used a variety of draft animals, especially horses, mules, and oxen. They 
often preferred the latter when they were available, for oxen had great strength and 
patience and were easy to keep; they did not balk at mud or quicksand, they required no 
expensive and complicated harness, and Indians did not care to eat them, so seldom stole 
them. (They could, however, be eaten by the pioneers in an emergency.) The science of 
"oxteamology" consisted of little more than walking along the left side of the lead oxen with 

^ The author heard this expression as a child in Utah from his grandparents... a bit of 
oral tradition. 



a whip, prod, or goad, urging them on and guiding them, and was considerably simpler than 
handling the reins of horses or mules. With gentle oxen, widows with children could and 
did (with a little help, especially during the morning yoking up) transport themselves and 
their possessions successfully all the way to the valley of the Great Salt Lake. 

Along the trail, under normal conditions, the Mormons averaged 2 miles an hour, the usual 
speed of an ox pulling a heavy wagon all day long.^ 


To keep the emigrant companies together, or at least to keep in touch with the various 
leaders, mounted couriers were appointed to ride back and forth, and bells, bugles and 
different colored signal flags were used to communicate messages and call meetings 
throughout the entire migration period. Beyond the Missouri River, the pioneers 
occasionally wrote messages on animal skulls and scapula. (See Appendix D, Illustration 
1.) An example of this sort of "bone mail" read "Pioneers double teamed. 8 June 1847. 
Camp all well. Hail storm last night, fine morning. T[homas] Bullock, no accident." ^ 
Sometimes they wrote on rocks and boards, tied notes to trees, or left letters enclosed 
between two pieces of wood. A trail "post office" was sometimes made by setting up a 
pole by the side of the trail, drilling a hole in it for a letter then plugging the hole.^ After 
October 24, 1861, when the Overland Telegraph wires were joined in Salt Lake City, the 
Mormons also used the telegraph, especially with church headquarters in Salt Lake City. 

Mormons also liked to leave their names behind, a common practice of emigrants in trail 
days, and many can be found along the trail today in such places as Avenue of Rocks, 
Independence Rock, Devil's Gate in Wyoming, and in Cache Cave in Utah.^ 

^ LeRoy Hafen, Western America (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1970), 350. 
For comparison, stagecoaches with frequent changes of horses averaged 16 miles an 

"* Thomas Bullock journal, June 8, 1847, archives. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter- 
day Saints, hereafter Mormon Church archives. 

^ This information comes from the 1849 trail journal of David Moore and the 1856 trail 
journal of Langley A. Bailey, Mormon Church archives. 

^ Based on the author's study of Mormon Trail journals and trail travel. 


Problems of Illness, Stress, Privacy, and Traveling 


Injury, sickness, and death were commonplace. Emigrants suffered cuts; broken bones; 
gun wounds; burns; scaldings; animal, insect, and snake bites; stampedes; overturned 
wagons; shifting freight; drownings; quicksand; black scurvy; black canker (probably 
diphtheria); cholera; typhoid fever; ague; quick consumption (tuberculosis); headaches; 
piles; mumps; asthma; inflammation of the bowels; scrofula; erysipelas; diarrhea; small pox; 
itch; and infections of all kinds, including puerperal fever, which can follow childbirth. In 
reference to the latter, the journals of some of the midwives make melancholy reading.^ 
Although oxen moved very slowly, there was no quick way of stopping them. Therefore, 
many women, because their long skirts got caught, were injured when dragged under 
animals or wagon wheels. Children often fell under the animals or wagons. Emigrants 
were also stepped on, gored, and kicked by animals. 

Also, because emigrant trains moved so slowly, emigrants, especially children, occasionally 
got lost. This was the result of straggling, gathering flowers or berries, hunting, attempting 
short cuts, or trying to visit landmarks that were farther away than they appeared because 
of the clarity of the high plains' atmosphere. Most found their way back (some were helped 
by Indians), but some never were seen again in spite of searches, rifle shots, and signal 

Some emigrants suffered from being physically or emotionally impaired. There were 
persons with various kinds of physical disabilities, Uke blindness, inability to speak, and 
absence of limbs. Emotional disturbances ranged from the mild to the bizarre. The 
number of physically and emotionally disabled Mormon emigrants who attempted to cross 
the plains or whose guardians attempted to take them to Zion is surprising. Mormon 
emigrant companies probably started out with a higher percentage of disabled people, 
because of their belief in the "power of the priesthood" and in miracle healing. It was 
common practice among Mormon emigrants to request church leaders to give blessings to 
the sick and the injured, and sometimes people were healed. Many were not. 

Emigrants were also plagued by mosquitoes, chiggers, ticks, lice, gnats, bed bugs, fleas, 
flies, and other vermin. To these trials must be added the weaknesses of human beings 
under stress, which sometimes led to abusive language, fighting, quarreling, divorce, stealing, 
selfishness, sponging, excessive harshness, and alcohol abuse.^ 

^ See, for example, the diary of Patty Sessions, Mormon Church archives. 

° Gleaned from author's study of trail journals at Mormon Church archives. 

^ Stanley B. Kimball, 'The Unusual and the Outre on Mormon Trails," Paper presented 
at the Mormon History Conference, Utah State University, 1988. 



Weather was also an important cause of discomfort and death. Emigrants suffered from 
exposure to heat, mud, wind, rain, cold, snow, and blizzards. Some were hurt and even 
killed by lightning, and children were occasionally hurt by whirlwinds; one little boy was 
dropped in the Platte River by one.^° 

Funerals and burials were often hurried affairs, as little time could be spared while en 
route. Shallow graves were dug, unless the ground was frozen, in which case, no grave 
could be dug. (In cold but not yet freezing weather, the preferred place to dig a grave 
was the site of the previous night's campfire.) A few were buried in coffins, many others 
only in blankets, hollowed out logs, or between pieces of bark. Children were often buried 
in containers like bread boxes and tea canisters. Some graves were marked, but more 
often everything was done to obliterate all traces of the grave, to discourage wild animals 
(and sometimes Indians) from digging up the corpse. 

The problem of privacy for the purposes of elimination was solved by following the common 
rule: men to one side, women to the other. If the women went in a group, several sisters 
standing with skirts spread wide could provide a privacy screen for each other. Most 
wagons also had chamber pots. 


The basic trail routine, more or less observed throughout the migrating period, might be 
summed up as follows: arising, praying, cooking, yoking up, pulling out, "nooning" (when 
people ate [usually cold] lunches and draft animals rested and grazed), pushing on, selecting 
camp, gathering fuel, cooking, washing up, mending, recreating and socializing, rounding up 
stray livestock, milking, grazing the animals, praying, retiring, and standing guard. To this 
routine should be added washing, repairing wagons and equipment, hunting, dealing with 
Indians, conducting or attending religious services, and occasional births, accidents, sickness, 
deaths, funerals, marriages, and quarrels.^ 


Discipline was set and maintained by church leaders and, as previously noted, was based 
on the belief that Mormons were modern day saints, led by living prophets, carrying out 
God's will. Thus, discipline was generally preserved on the trail. Mormons, like most 
other westering Americans, usually had some basic trail rules and constitutions, but they 
were seldom elaborated or written down. Generally Mormon companies felt they were led 
by the Lord, or at least by His designates, and that they were to follow orders and rules 
without question. A member of the Mormon ruling priesthood was always in charge of 
the companies, usually assisted by one or two counselors. Mormons were supposed to be 

^° John Q. Cannon, ed. Autobiography of Christopher Layton, (Salt Lake City, 1911), 

"'"' This information was gleaned by the author from hundreds of trail journals. 


Routine, Rules, Discipline, Constitutions 

Such rule by the priesthood usually sufficed. When serious troubles arose, company 
councils were called and a rough and ready trail-side justice was meted out. Those in the 
wrong were expected to apologize, make amends, and repent. Men were occasionally 
flogged. (For improper sex matters emasculation was hinted at, although there is no record 
it was ever carried out.) Men and women could also be expelled from the company--a 
serious punishment on, or beyond, the frontier. 


The more experience the Mormons gained in westering, the less important rigid rules and 
regulations became, but sometimes constitutions were written down. A typical one of the 
period was drafted by a company of English Saints at West Port, Missouri, in 1854. It 

Camp Ground, State of Missouri, 14 July 1854 

At Council Meeting this evening Elder Empey presiding, it was resolved: 

That Bro. Robert Campbell be president of this company. 

That Bro. Richard Cook be his first counselor and Bro. Woodard be his 
second counselor. 

That Bro. Brewerton be captain of the guard. 

That Bro. Charles Brewerton be wagon master and Bro. Wm. Kendall to 
assist him. 

That Bro. Richard be captain of the first ten. 

That Bro. Fisher be captain of the second ten. 

That Bro. Bailiff be captain of the third ten. 

That Bro. Thos. Sutherland be clerk and historian of this company. 

That no gun shall be fired within 50 yards of the camp under a penalty of 
one nights guard. 


See Stanley B. Kimball, 'The Dark Side of Heroism on Mormon Trails: A New Look 
at the Mythic Pioneers," paper presented before the Mormon History Association, Kansas 
City, Mo., May 1985. 



That the captain of each ten shall awaken the head of every family at 4 
o'clock in the morning and be ready to roll out at seven, if circumstances 
will admit. 

That all go to bed at 9 o'clock in the evening. 

That every man from 16 to 60 years of age be eligible to stand guard. 

The above resolutions have been afterwards laid before the whole company 
in camp and have received their unanimous sanction. 


Robert Campbell, Pres.; Thomas Sutherland, Clerk. 


Trail larders were well supplied, consisting of staples like flour, bacon, sugar, tea, coffee, 
beans, dried fruits, canned goods, salt, dried meats, vinegar, cheese, pickles, oat mean, 
molasses, bran meal, eggs, butter, wine, whiskey, and other alcoholic beverages. In 
addition. Mormons sometimes had chickens, pigs, sheep, and milk cows. Such supplies 
were supplemented by whatever emigrants could gather or catch that swam, flew, ran, or 
crawled or grew. This included fish, turtles, clams, buffalo, antelope, beaver, prairie dogs, 
mountain sheep, squirrels, rabbits, snakes, bear, deer, elk, ducks, pheasants, quail, prairie 
hens, turkeys, geese, pelicans, strawberries, cherries, grapes, currents, gooseberries, 
serviceberries, mulberries, choke cherries, plums, blackberries, wild pears, honey, and 
volunteer corn.^"^ 


Most Mormon companies, with the exception of the pioneer company of 1847, had more 
women (and children) than most non-Mormon companies. This was because most 
Mormons did not go west for furs, gold, adventure, or a new identity, but seeking religious 
freedom; they usually traveled as families and often had single women converts along.^^ 
And because many of these women, like Bathsheba Smith, Sarah Leavitt, Sarah Alexander, 
Caroline Crosby, Mary Field Garner, Eliza R. Snow (see Appendix D, Illustration 2 and 
Appendix C, Biographical Sketch 1), Patty Bartlett Sessions (see Appendix D, Illustration 
3 and Appendix C, Biographical Sketch 2), Jane Rio Pearce, and Patience Archer wrote 

^^ "Journal History of the Church," 28 October 1854, 2, Mormon Church archives. 
^'* Gleaned from author's study of trail journals. 
^^ Lyon, "Some Uncommon Aspects of the Mormon Migration," 36. 


Women Emigrants 

trail accounts, we know much of their trail lifeJ^ Typically, trail life was harder on them 
than on the men. The lack of privacy in bathing, eUmination, and sleeping was especially 
difficult for Mormon women, as was their task of gathering bison dung, euphemistically 
termed bois de vache, meadow muffins, or chips for fuel. There were several trail songs 
about this work. The following is typical: 

There's a pretty little girl in the outfit ahead 

Whoa Haw Buck and Jerry Boy 

I wish she were by my side instead 

Whoa Haw Buck and Jerry Boy 

Look at her now with a pout on her lips 

As daintily with her fingertips 

She picks for the fire some buffalo chips 

Whoa Haw Buck and Jerry Boy. 

Women also were responsible for most of the care of infants and children, as well as the 
fuel gathering, cooking, churning, sewing, laundering, and nursing. (Many women found 
it difficult at first to cook in the higher altitudes, where water boils at a lower 
temperature-sometimes beans and rice could cook for hours and never get soft.) 

Many women were pregnant when they left for the west and others became pregnant en 
route. Both realities added to the difficulties of immigrating women. Probably a tenth of 
all Mormon emigrants died. The author's study of Mormon Trail accounts indicates that 
most were women and children.^^ 

Women were also greatly hampered and disadvantaged by their clothing. Westering males 
dressed for the conditions: heavy boots, strong trousers, shirts, jackets, coats and broad- 
brimmed hats to protect the face and eyes. Tragically the same cannot be said for 
westering females. While modesty is almost universally considered a great virtue, it, like 
everything else except good will, can be overdone. The female attire of trail days, decreed 
by modesty and fashion, got filthy, soaked up water (even from dew), and often caused 

^^ This study of female Mormon Pioneers is based on these and scores of other female 
trail accounts in the Mormon Church archives, the Utah Historical Society, and Brigham 
Young University. See also Vicky Burgess-Olson, Sister Saints (Provo: Brigham Young 
University Press, 1978); Kenneth Godfrey, Audrey Godfrey, and Jill Derr, Women's 
Voices... (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1982); and the old, but still useful, Edward 
W. Tullidge, The Women of Mormondom (New York: Tullidge and Crandall, 1877, 1975 

^^ Nobody knows how many died. This estimate is based on Andrew Jenson's 
"Emigration Crossing the Plains," see Appendix B, Document 5, and from this author's 
study of trail journals. 



accidents. Long skirts could get caught in many ways, drawing females under animals and 
moving wagons. 

Even after the super modest and "trail safe" bloomers (of Amelia Bloomer) came into 
existence in 1852, few Mormon females cared or dared to wear them, for they were 
considered a costume espoused by feminists as a dress for liberated women and signaled 
radical sexual and political messages that were denounced at the time. Furthermore, the 
Bible (Deuteronomy 22:5) decreed, "The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto 
a man.. .all that do so are abomination unto the Lord thy God." Women also kept their 
long skirts, petticoats, ribbons, bows, and white aprons to maintain their sexual distinction 
from men and their "superiority" over Indian women, and to preserve their femininity and 

Balancing out the grim realities of trail life are female trail accounts of the "romance," 
beauty of the landscape, the adventure of it all. Activities included dancing, singing, games, 
recitations, feasts, parties, socializing, tea parties, courting, and weddings. Westering 
women, including Mormons, enjoyed thinking up trail-related names for their infants born 
en route, such as Platte, Lucile Platte, Humboldt, Nevada, Laborious, Echo, Handcart, Blue 
River, La Bonte, and Liberty. Sometimes at night, camp women would place their scanty 
domestic belongings around their campfire to approximate their "parlors" back home. They 
also arranged the interiors of their covered wagons to be as homelike as possible. They 
hung mirrors, pictures, and lamps, spread carpets, and placed other belongings to this end. 
In fact pioneer women generally did everything they could to preserve their traditional role 
and image and the niceties of civilization, domesticity, and a semblance of home while 

The realities of trail travel, however, greatly altered some aspects of family life. While the 
nineteenth century clearly distinguished between male and female roles, defining women 
as agents of civilization and keepers of morals, the differences between male and female 
work were blurred by the trail experience. Women were often called upon to take over 
men's duties and responsibilities. (Sometimes men even had to do women's work.) 
Throughout the Mormon migrations, every possible type of arrangement of family groups 
formed, including the unique Mormon contribution to the westward movement-polygamy. 
(See also below, page 44.) 

Since polygamy had been practiced at Nauvoo, it existed on the trail. At the beginning of 
the exodus in 1846, some men took all their wives and children with them, some returned 
later for the balance of their families. Some women and their children joined their 
husbands later on the Missouri River, or in Utah. Some never did go west. Some men 


Stanley B. Kimball, "Women, Children, and Family Life on Pioneer Trails," Paper 
presented before the National Convention of the Daughters of Utah Pioneers, Salt Lake 
City, Utah, October 1980. 


Little Emigrants, Children 

married plural wives en route; some missionaries returned from Europe with additional 

There were also single Mormon emigrants, bachelors, maidens, widows, widowers, the 
divorced and the orphaned. The net of faith brought in all kinds. As far as possible singles 
were fitted into the emigrant companies and completely accepted. Often such single 
pioneers were hired hands taken along as teamsters, drivers, cattle tenders, and handymen. 
Single females were sometimes hired to assist with the children and to aid older family 
members.^^ Despite the big differences between Mormon and non-Mormon trail emigrants, 
it appears that in general, the lives of Mormon female emigrants were much the same as 
those of most women on the Oregon and California trails.^" 


Most Mormon immigrating companies included children and infants, and child care was one 
of the greatest responsibilities and concerns, especially to the mothers.^^ Proper child care 
was greatly complicated by the constant traveling. 

Older children usually had assignments, such as watching the younger ones, driving, herding, 
gathering fuel, and helping their mothers. Little children, however, tended to wander off, 
get lost, play too close to the draft animals and wagons, or step on cacti. Little girls wore 
the same inappropriate clothing as their mothers did. 

A favorite, and dangerous, pastime of young boys was hanging on tent poles or extra axles 
that were stored under the wagons. An even more dangerous pastime of boys was standing 
on the wagon tongue and balancing themselves by placing their hands on the backs of the 

Children were attracted to fire and boiling water. They were also susceptible to many 
illnesses and often there was little suitable food for infants. Some mothers tried to keep 
their children by their sides, or safely in the wagons. Some companies attempted to protect 
their children by keeping them all together in one group, supervised by one or more adults. 
Every morning the group would be marched ahead of the main company, and herded like 




See, for example, Lillian Schlissel, Women's Diaries of the Westward Journey (New 
York: Schocken Books, 1982); Sandra L. Myers, Westering Women and the Frontier 
Experience, 1800-1915 (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1982); and the 
multi-volume series Covered Wagon Women, being published by Arthur H. Clark Co., 
Glendale, California. 

^' See Kimball, "Women, Children and Family Life on Pioneer Trails." 



sheep all day long. This was hard on the children and on their parents, but it did prevent 
many accidents. 

Children made pets of cats, birds, prairie dogs, eagles, chickens, and lambs. Some even 
tried to tame buffalo calves. And all children, it seems, took a great liking to the family 
oxen, giving them pet names like Rouser, Brindle, Old Smut, Bill, Tom and Jerry, and Buck 
and Bright. There were few dogs on the trails. Cats were quiet and good mousers, but 
barking dogs could cause stampedes, attract Indians, or scare game. 

Children played draughts or checkers, cards, hide-and-seek, tag, and ball. Some had toys 
like iron lions or dolls. Boys had pocket knives. They played with crickets and eagerly 
looked for anthills, for sometimes they could find Indian beads there-the ants picked them 
up Hke small pebbles. Despite all the hardships, most children who made the journey 
revelled in it the rest of their lives. 


Along the MPNHT and throughout their immigrating period. Mormons met with many 
different groups and tribes of Indians, such as the Potawatomi, Omaha, Oto, Pawnee, Sioux, 
Snake (or properly, Shoshoni), Ute, and Paiute, but seldom experienced difficulties. This 
was in part because of the Book of Mormon, which gave Mormons their unique and 
positive attitude towards Indians. In short, Mormons treated Indians better than other 
whites treated them. According to the Book of Mormon, many American Indians are 
descended from several groups of people in pre-Columbian America, who had somehow 
found their way from the Old World Holy Land to the New, and who had subsequently 
rejected God and fallen under a curse. This curse was to be removed eventually through 
the Indians' acceptance of true Christianity-Mormonism. Mormons felt it was their 
obligation to help the Indians, not only to "civilize" them, but also to convert them and to 
help them become a "fair and delightsome people." ^^ Indians tended to leave immigrating 
Mormons alone for other reasons as well: the size and preparedness of most Mormon 
companies, the fact that almost all Mormons merely passed through Indian lands and did 
not settle on them, were usually considerate in their consumption of game, grass, and wood, 
and gave Indians presents of salt, tobacco, and food. 

Prior to their exodus west, the Mormons had had no sustained relations with Indians. 
(This was in part because between 1825 and 1846, the U.S. government practiced an Indian 
Removal program for the purpose of driving all eastern Indians west of the Mississippi. 

^^ For a summary study of Mormons and Indians, see Leonard Arrington, The 
Mormons and the Indians, Review and Evaluation," The Record, (Friends of the Library, 
Washington State University, Pullman, (1970): 5-29. It is also true, contrary to what 
Hollywood would have us believe, that until the 1860s, Indians rarely attacked emigrant 
trains. See Unruh, The Plains Across. 


Indian Relations 

The Sauk and Fox, for example, had been driven from Illinois by the cruel Black Hawk 
"War" of 1832.) There had been chance encounters here and there. In the early 1830s, 
Mormon missionaries had tried unsuccessfully to proselytize some Wyandot in Ohio and 
some Shawnee and Delaware, west of the Missouri River, near Independence, Missouri. 
In 1841, Chief Keokuk accompanied by Kiskukosh, Appenoose, and about 100 other chiefs 
and braves of the Sauk and Fox, crossed the Mississippi from Iowa (whence they had been 
driven in 1832) and visited Nauvoo.^ 


During the Nauvoo period of Mormon history (1839-1846), several extremely important 
precedents were established regarding the relations between Mormons and Indians. Some 
Indians were given the Mormon priesthood, there was some intermarriage, and a few 
Indians had been permitted to go through the Nauvoo temple and take part in those sacred 
and secret ordinances. In no other way could the potential equality of red men with white 
men have been so conclusively demonstrated to Mormons and to their Indian friends.^"* 

Because of their unique view of Indians, Mormons generally treated them more fairly than 
other whites and throughout their migrating period. Mormons had little trouble with 
Indians. There are only several authenticated cases of kidnappings and killings." (There 
were, however, a good many Indian attempts along the trail to buy or trade for Mormon 
wives. To the author's knowledge, no such arrangements were ever consummated, although 
up to twenty horses were sometimes offered, especially for redheads with ringlets !)^^ 
Indians did, however, steal Mormon livestock, especially horses, whenever possible. 

Contemporary Mormon Trail accounts reveal none of the horror most white Americans 
held concerning the captivity of white women by red men. On the contrary. Mormon 
journals mention Indians as being stately, helpful, nice, clean, handsome, stylish, and living 
in primitive grandeur. Mormons recorded that Indians provided food, rides on horses, 
guide services, entertainment, such as horse races and bow and arrow demonstrations, and 
occasional succor to lost pioneers. Some handcarters recorded that mounted Indians 
sometimes threw a rope on a handcart and helped pull it through rough terrain.^^ When 


See Allen and Leonard, The Story of the Latter-day Saints, 30, 105-106, and B. H. 
Roberts, A Comprehensive History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, (Salt 
Lake City: Deseret News Press, vol. II, 1930), 88-89. 

^^ See Stanley B. Kimball, "Red Men and White Women on Mormon Trails, 1847-1868: 
The Captivity Narrative in Mormondom," Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought I 
(Winter 1985), 81-88. 

'' Ibid. 

'' Ibid. 

'' Ibid. 



the Mormons settled in the Great Basin, however, and thereby pre-empted Indian lands, 
they experienced the same type of Indian troubles as non-Mormon settlers. There were 
intermittent conflicts for about twenty years-from some horse stealing in 1849 through the 
Black Hawk War of the 1860s. 


There were very few Blacks connected with the early Mormon Church and fewer still on 
the emigrant trails. There were, for example, only three Blacks in the pioneer company of 
1847-Green Flake, Hark Lay, and Oscar Crosby. In the much bigger group of 1848, 
twenty-four more Blacks crossed the plains. Thereafter the records indicate a scattering of 
Black "servants" going west during the 1850s. Almost all of the servants mentioned in the 
sources were slaves of white southern converts, who saw no compelling reason for freeing 
their slaves just because they had become Mormons. Fortunately, most Blacks were later 
freed in Utah. On the trail, most of these slaves served as teamsters, herders, or cooks.^° 


Mormon missionaries first reached Europe in 1837, and from England, missionaries spread 
to the continent. There were, therefore, many Mormon emigrants from, not only England, 
Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, but also from Denmark, Norway, Iceland, France, Italy, and 
Germany. Many of these emigrants were at a disadvantage in not knowing English in 
addition to not being accustomed to life on and beyond the American frontier. Mormon 
emigration officials tried to reduce this disadvantage through the previously mentioned 
Perpetual Emigration Fund, by organizing the foreign emigrants in Europe so that they 
sailed and traveled together all the way to their new Zion, and by always putting leaders 
in charge who knew the requisite languages. The sources indicate the system worked well.^^ 


Jack Seller, "Negro Slaves in Utah," Utah Historical Quarterly 2 (1979): 122-26, and 
Ronald G. Coleman, "Blacks in Utah," in The Peoples of Utah 24, ed. Helen Z. Papanikolas 
(Salt Lake City: Utah State Historical Society, 1976), 115-140; the same author's "Blacks 
in Pioneer Utah, 1847-69," UMOJA: A Scholarly Journal of Black Studies, 2, (Summer 
1978): 96-110; and this author's study of Mormon Trail accounts. 

^^ See Conway B. Sonne, Saints on the High Seas, A r\/1aritime History of Mormon 
Migrations: 1830-90, (Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1983) and the author's 
study of Mormon Trail journals. 


Non-Mormons on the Trail 


The Mormons, of course, met many traders, freighters, trappers and mountain men at their 
various points of departure and along the Mormon Trail. Additionally they encountered 
other westering Americans, the military, including discharged soldiers and even deserters 
and draft-dodgers from both north and south (during the Civil War, sometimes Mormon 
trains were even stopped and searched for such men), mail carriers, 49ers, Overland 
Telegraph workers, government roads workers, and Union Pacific Railroad workers. 

During the Civil War, some of the Mormon trains were stopped, usually near Fort Bridger, 
and all native born males eighteen years or older had to take an oath of allegiance to the 
United States, while all male aliens eighteen years or older had to swear to act in strict 


We can now turn to a discussion of just when the Mormons decided to settle in the Rocky 
Mountain area. The usual place to start the story of the Mormons and the Far West is 
with a statement made August 6, 1842, allegedly by Joseph Smith, to the effect that the 
Saints would continue to suffer much affliction and would be driven to the Rocky 
Mountains. In July 1843, Smith sent Jonathan Durham to investigate a route across Iowa 
from Nauvoo, Illinois, to the Missouri River. By February 1844, Smith had also suggested 
an exploring party be sent to investigate locations for possible settlement in California or 
Oregon. In March 1844, he sent a petition to Congress requesting authorization to raise 
100,000 armed volunteers to protect Mormons who might immigrate to Oregon.^^ Nothing 
came of the projected exploring party or the petition. Among other things, Smith began 
campaigning for the presidency of the United States, Congress refused to receive the 
petition, and Smith was murdered the following June by an anti-Mormon mob in Carthage, 

One important event, however, did come from the abortive petition. Congressman Stephen 
A. Douglas from lUinois sent Smith a map of Oregon, a copy of John C. Fremont's 1843 
map (see Appendix A, Map 3) and a report on the exploration of the country lying between 
the Missouri River and the Rocky Mountains. 

The death of Smith ended further discussion of going west for the rest of that year and the 
church as a whole dedicated itself to effecting the plans of its martyred prophet-completing 
the temple, building a better Nauvoo, and expanding the proselytizing program. 


Gleaned from trail journals. 

^^ Allen and Leonard, The Story of the Latter-day Saints, 184-185, and Roberts, A 
Comprehensive History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, vol. 2, 210-216. 



It appears that by January 1845, Brigham Young (see Appendix D, Illustration 4 and 
Appendix C Biographical Sketch 3), Joseph's de facto, if not de jure, successor and other 
Mormon leaders simultaneously carried on two mutually exclusive programs: (1) to build 
up Nauvoo, and (2) to prepare to leave.^^ Until October 1845, however, the second 
program was not generally known. That Young indeed was preparing his followers for such 
a move is manifested by the fact that on October 30, 1844, the Nauvoo Neighbor, a Mormon 
newspaper, printed a selection from Washington Irving's Astoria entitled "The Climate of 
the Rocky Mountains," and that throughout 1845, the same paper published many other 
articles on Oregon, the Indians, and especially extracts from Fremont's Reports about the 
Oregon Trail, the Bear River area, and the Valley of the Great Salt Lake. Also published 
were portions of Lansford W. Hastings' The Emigrants' Guide to Oregon and California, 
which had just appeared in 1845. Furthermore, in 1845, the New York Messenger, another 
Mormon publication, printed almost the entirety of Hastings' book.^^ Young even revived 
Smith's proposal about sending out a party to search for locations in the west, but nothing 
came of it. 

How long Young intended to carry on both programs is not known, for his hand was forced 
that fall. In September of 1845, anti-Mormons, convinced that the Mormons were not 
going to leave Illinois, began a program of harassment. More than 200 Mormon homes and 
farm buildings located outside Nauvoo were burned that fall and the anti-Mormon 
convention headquartered in Carthage decreed that the Mormons must quit Illinois the 
following spring. Therefore a western exploring party was organized and the exodus was 
officially announced and scheduled for the spring of 1846.^^ Mormon historical records 
show that during December 1845 Mormon leaders studied the works of Fremont, Hastings, 
and other travelers of the Far West.^^ (See section entitled Western Travel Accounts 
Consulted by the Mormons, page 29.) Even after quitting Nauvoo during February 1846, 
the advance group of Mormons continued to gather information about the west. On 
January 6, 1847, for example, Young wrote to a church member in St. Louis: "I want you 
to bring me one half dozen of Mitchell's new map of Texas, Oregon & California and the 

^^ A good recent account of leaving Nauvoo is Richard Bennet, Mormons at the 
Missouri, 1846-52, (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1987) 13-25. 

^^ For a detailed account of these events, see Stanley B. Kimball, William Clayton's The 
Latter-day Saints' Emigrants' Guide, (Gerald, Mo.: The Patrice Press, 1983), 18-19. See 
also Lewis Clark Christian, "Mormon Foreknowledge of the West," Brigham Young 
University Studies 21, Fall 1981, 403-415, and his 1972 Brigham Young University Thesis. 

^"^ Allen and Leonard, The Story of the Latter-day Saints, 210-215, and Flanders, 
Kingdom on the Mississippi. 

'' Ibid. 


Western Travel Accounts Consulted by the Mormons 

regions adjoining.. .for 1846.... If there is anything later or better than Mitchell's, I want the 
best." (See Appendix A, Map 4.)^^ 


It will be useful at this point to discuss the accounts, maps, and frontiersmen the Mormons 
consulted before and during their great exodus to their New Zion. To do this let us 
examine the trans-Missouri travel/guide literature available to Mormon leaders generally 
through April 1847, when they left the Missouri River for the Far West. Probably the 
Mormons were not even aware of much of the literature, still less able to consult it, but it 
will be helpful, nonetheless, to survey the field. 

Travel literature had long been in vogue in the young Republic. Dozens of guides 
appeared, beginning with a 1748 guide to Kentucky, throughout the nineteenth century, to 
a guide to the Klondike goldfields in 1897. Perhaps the earliest publication of specific 
value to the Mormons would have been Edwin James' 1823 Account of an Expedition from 
Pittsburgh to the Rocky Mountains 1819-1820, based on the notes of Major S.H. Long of the 
famous U.S. Army Corps of Typographical Engineers. This work detailed Long's 1820 
expedition from a point on the Missouri about 10 miles above what was to become the site 
of the Mormon Winter Quarters, westward along a line of march very similar to that of the 
Mormons in 1847. That is, along the north bank of the Platte, across the Elkhorn River 
and Shell Creek, past the Pawnee villages, the ford of the Loup River, and continuing west 
along the north bank of the Platte to the confluence of the North and South Platte 
branches. That is where Long turned southwest into what is now Colorado, and discovered 
the peak that bears his name. The forty-two-page account of this part of Long's expedition 
would surely have been one of the best works the Mormons could have consulted, for this 
was the best exploring account of the Great Plains before Fremont. 

In 1837, the imagination of the nation was caught by Washington Irving's reworking of the 
1833 journal of Captain Benjamin Louis Eulalie de Bonneville into The Adventures of 
Captain Bonneville in the Rocky Mountains and the Far West. The account of the Oregon 
Trail between Fort Laramie and the Green River would have been of some value to the 
Mormons. Of special interest would have been the five-page description of the Great Salt 
Lake provided to Bonneville by one of his men, Joseph W.R. Walker. Bonneville was also 
the first to prove the feasibility of taking loaded wagons over the famed South Pass. 

The following year a book appeared of which the Mormons might have known. This was 
the Rev. Samuel Parker's Journal of an Exploring Tour Beyond the Rocky Mountains along 
the Oregon Trail from Fort Leavenworth to the Green River via Bellevue (in what is now 


Carl I. Wheat, Mapping the Trans-Mississippi West, vol. 3, (San Francisco: Institute 
of Historic Cartography, 1959), 31. 



Nebraska); that is, across the PapiUion, Elkhorn, the Loup, and along the north side of the 
Platte to Fort Laramie--the same way the Mormons later went. 

The publications of John K. Townsend, Maximilian, Prince of Wied, Father Pierre Jean De 
Smet, and Thomas J. Farnham in the 1830s and 1840s would have been of little value to 
the Mormons. Of far greater importance was Captain John C. Fremont's A Report of the 
Exploring Expeditions to the Rocky Mountains in the Year 1842. Published in 1843, this work 
was probably worth as much to the Mormons as everything else published to that date 
combined. This was the Fremont Report mentioned so often by the Mormons. A 
10,000-copy edition was reprinted in 1845 as the first part of his A Report of the Exploring 
Expedition to the Rocky Mountains in the Year 1842 and To Oregon and North California in 
the Years 1843-44. The seventy-nine-page report of 1843 was the first scientific survey of 
the Oregon Trail and the first reasonably accurate guidebook to the Far West. 

The 1843 Report was useful to the Mormons for its account of the Platte River Valley from 
what is now North Platte, Nebraska, to South Pass. Of most value to the Mormons in the 
subsequent 1845 Report was the three-page account of the exploration of the Great Sah 
Lake (which he reached via the Soda Springs), the Bear River area, and the valley of the 
Great Salt Lake. Of paramount interest to the Mormons were his comments on the fertility 
of the valleys west of the Rocky Mountains. 

Next to Fremont the most often-mentioned source of information to the Mormons was 
Lansford W. Hastings' The Emigrant's Guide to Oregon and California, also published in 
1845. For all of the fame or notoriety of this work, it is difficult to see wherein its value 
to the Mormons lay. Hastings' short account of his traveling from St. Louis to the Green 
River would have been of little help to the Mormons. He devoted exactly one sentence on 
pages 137-138 to what became the famous and infamous Hastings Cutoff, "The most direct 
route for the California Emigrants, would be to leave the Oregon route, about two hundred 
miles east from Fort Hall; then bearing west-south-west, to the Salt Lake; and thence 
continuing down to the bay of San Francisco, by the route just described.'^^ This one 
sentence sent some to their deaths, while suggesting to the Mormons a shorter way to the 
Valley of the Great Salt Lake, west from Fort Bridger, rather than via Fort Hall. The 
Mormons might also have found Hastings' excellent ten-page chapter on "The Equipment, 
Supplies, and the Method of Traveling" very valuable. 


^^ Lansford W. Hastings, The Emigrants' Guide to Oregon and California, (Cincinnati: 
George Conclin, 1845), 137-138. 

^° For further discussion of early travel literature, see S. Kimball, William Clayton's The 
Latter-day Saints' Emigrants' Guide. 


Western Maps Consulted by the Monnons 


Of far more importance to the Mormons than the travel accounts were the maps available 
to them. There were many--a plethora in fact.^^ Since at least 1722, dozens of Spanish, 
French, and American maps had been published showing, in varying degrees of accuracy 
and fullness, the Platte River area. Over fifty maps of the trans-Mississippi west appeared 
during the first five years of the 1840s, and in the critical year of 1846 another twenty-eight 
were published."^" 

From a practical standpoint, there is no use in this study to consider anything published 
prior to Major S.H. Long's map of 1823, which not only gave details along the north side 
of the Platte from the Missouri River to the forks of the Platte (see Appendix A, Map 5), 
but is also generally considered to have been the best map of the Platte area prior to those 
prepared by Fremont and his cartographer Charles Preuss. (See Appendix A, Map 3.) 

It appears the Mormons also consulted the 1835 map of Bonneville. Unfortunately he was 
an untrained amateur and his map, not based on astronomical observations, was of poor 
technical quality. Still it was widely known and used in its day. 

While there were many maps of the trans-Missouri west published in the 1840s, almost 
every one the Mormons might have been interested in were either those of Fremont-Preuss 
or based on Fremont-Preuss. The three Fremont-Preuss maps, which appeared in 1843, 
1845, and 1846, were what we would call strip maps today, showing only the area actually 
explored with no attempt to present wide, general areas. They represent the best American 
cartography between Long's work and the Civil War.' 


The first of the Fremont-Preuss series, showing the Oregon Trail in great detail, from the 
forks of the Platte to South Pass and the Wind River Mountains, was the basis for the two 
that followed. In large format, 14V2" by 33y4", it was clearly the finest map of that area 
ever produced. Preuss prepared another map in 1845 to accompany Fremont's second 
Report of that year. As the 1845 publication included the 1843 material, the 1845 map 
embodied everything on the 1843 map. In huge format, 51" x 31^2", it showed his route 
along the Oregon trail from Westport (now part of Kansas City), to South Pass, Fort 
Vancouver, and on to San Francisco Bay. This map also provided a good sketch of the 
Platte River west from Bellevue, showing the Elkhorn, Loup, and Wood rivers. 

^^ See Wheat, Mapping the Trans-Mississippi West. 

'° Ibid. 

'' Ibid., 101. 



In 1846, Preuss reworked his 1845 map. This map, from Westport to the Columbia River, 
was constructed on a grand scale of only 10 miles to the inch and was issued in seven 
sections, each 26" by 16." 

Of those maps derived from Fremont-Preuss, which the Mormons may have also consulted, 
are products that appeared with the 1845 Report of Colonel S. Kearny's expedition from 
Fort Leavenworth to South Pass; the 1845 Charles Wilkes Map of Oregon Territory; Rufus 
B. Sage's 1846 Map of Oregon, California, New Mexico and Northwest Texas; and above 
all, one or more of the three maps published by S. Augustus Mitchell in 1846. It was one 
or more of these Mitchell maps that Young ordered from St. Louis during January 1846, 
as cited previously. The map in question was undoubtedly the previously mentioned, "A 
New Map of Texas, Oregon, and California," which was 20" by 22" and appeared in four 
colors. (See Appendix A, Map 4.) It would seem then that the maps that hung on the walls 
of the Nauvoo temple and that were subsequently taken west, besides Fremont's, were 
surely Mitchell's, Wilkes', Bonneville's, and most likely Long's. Unfortunately none of the 
copies used by the pioneers has survived. 


It is also interesting to note the contacts the Mormons might have made while on the 
Missouri River, from June 1846 to April 1847, and subsequently along the trail. From the 
"Manuscript History of Brigham Young" and other sources, we know they consulted with 
frontiersmen, members of the famous Fontenelle family, Indian agents such as Robert B. 
Mitchell and Peter A. Sarpy, and Indian chiefs such as Big Elk and Le Clerk. We also 
know Young talked with the famous Jesuit missionary to the Indians, father Pierre Jean De 
Smet, while the latter was returning to St. Louis from Oregon. Justin Grosclaude, a fur 
trader of Swiss ancestry for the American Fur Company, also called on Young and sketched 
with pencil a map of the country west of the Missouri -- a map which, regrettably, has not 
survived."*^ Not only did the Mormon leaders of the 1840s seek trail knowledge in the 
Council Bluffs area, but later on, rank and file Mormons in many other places along the 
Missouri River (such as Independence, Westport, Weston, and St. Joseph, Missouri, and 
Fort Leavenworth, Kansas Territory) acquired useful information to help later emigrants. 

On the trail, the Mormons made the best use of every opportunity to learn from others 
including traders, guides, and mountain men such as Moses Harris, Jim Bridger, and Miles 

""^ See Elden J. Watson, Compiler, Manuscript History of Brigham Young: 1846-47, 
(Salt Lake City: Elden J. Watson, 1971). 


Momions and the Environment 


Goodyear. Whenever possible, the Mormons updated their information with the maps, 
printed accounts, and personal experiences of the people they met along the way 



There is no evidence that the Mormons harmed the environment of the trail. As modern 
Saints, Mormons tried to be responsible travelers-considerate of the land and game. 
Killing for sport, for example, was prohibited and they were usually careful in their 
consumption of trees for fuel. Perhaps the main reason for the Mormon concern with the 
environment is that they knew thousands of their faith would be using the same trail. The 
Mormons were interested in the environment, in the flora and fauna of the increasingly 
strange world they encountered while westering. Their journals record their pleasure with 
the dramatic landscapes they traversed. Occasionally some pioneers found time to do some 
"botanizing" and what we might call "geologizing." In what is now Nebraska, in 1847, for 
example, they were fascinated by mammoth bones."*^ 

The author has found scores of Mormon Trail account references to land features, plants, 
and animals. They noted, for example, such plants as wild onions, buffalo grass, willows, 
roses, violets, gooseberries, strawberries, clover, bunch grass, vines, elderberries, thistles, 
cacti, garlic, currants, mint, sage, rushes, and cedar, ash, cherry, oak, maple, apple, alder, 
birch, poplar, cottonwood, and pine trees. They also noted squirrels, ducks, snapping 
turtles, various kinds of fish, goose, lizards, skunks (with which some foreign emigrants had 
unpleasant experiences), prairie dogs, rattlesnakes, antelope, hares, wolves, buffalo, badgers, 
deer, crickets, spiders, toads, ants, mosquitoes, mice, eagles, hawks, cranes, martins, 
pheasants, and magpies--to name a representative sampling. 

At times they even ventured to try to describe some unusual living things. One described 
something, perhaps a horny toad, as being "four to five inches long, including a long tail, 
body short and chunky, light grey, two rows of dark spots (brown) on each side, head 
shaped like a snake, appears perfectly harmless." Another described a plant as "a thistle, 
stem four feet long, six inches wide, one quarter inch thick, ornamented by prickles top to 
bottom, top is kind of a crown formed by prickly leaves ten inches long and five inches 


Kimball, Heber C. Kimball. 

"' Two basic and recommended accounts of the 1847 trek are William Clayton's 
Journal, (Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1921), and William Clayton, The Latter-day Saints' 
Emigrants' Guide (St. Louis: Missouri Steam Powered Press, 1848). 

'' Kimball, Heber C. Kimball, 159-160. 


Chapter 3 


The approximately 1,300-mile-long Great Trek must be divided into two parts: The nearly 
265-mile-long section across Iowa in 1846 (see Appendix A, Map 6) and the 1,032 (as 
measured by Clayton in 1847^ -mile-long segment across the Great Plains of Nebraska and 
Wyoming into Utah in 1847 (see Appendix A, Maps 7-9). The Iowa portion of the trail was 
used relatively little, mainly by the Mormons fleeing Ilhnois in 1846, and by some other 
Mormons jumping off from Keokuk, Iowa, in 1853. It was also used in 1856-1857 by seven 
companies of Mormon Handcarters from Iowa City who intersected the 1846 Mormon Trail 
at what is now Lewis, Cass County. (See "The Handcart Emigrants" in Chapter 6.) 
Thousands of other Mormons also crossed Iowa up to as late as 1863 on variants of the 
1846 trail and on completely different trails, but all these trails intersected the trail of 1846 
somewhere in western lowa.^ 

Across the monotonous, rolling Central Lowlands of Iowa, the trail of 1846 generally 
followed primitive territorial roads as far as Bloomfield, Davis County, then vague 
Potawatomi (the name exists in different spellings) Indian and trading trails along ridges 
from one water source to another and to an Indian agent's settlement on the Missouri 
River at what is now Council Bluffs. The trail always fell within 50 miles of the present 
Missouri state line. There is very little of the old trail left in Iowa. Time and the plow 
have erased almost all remains. What little can still be seen is described in Chapter 7, 
"Historic Sites along the Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail." 

The Iowa portion of the trek was the worst. In spite of long preparations for quitting 
Nauvoo, the Mormons were not at all well prepared when they left during February and 
March of 1846. For one thing they left earlier than was necessary or had been planned. 
The year 1846 began badly. The charters of the Nauvoo Legion and of the City of Nauvoo 
were revoked in January, thus curtailing what legal and military protection the Mormons 
had. Rumors were spreading that the U.S. Government would prevent the Mormons from 
leaving because they were suspected of counterfeiting and that federal troops from St. Louis 
were planning to march on Nauvoo.^ Apparently these rumors led church leaders to decide 
to begin the evacuation of Nauvoo as soon as possible, rather than to await the 

' See William Clayton's Journal, 376. 

^ See Kimball, Historic Sites and Markers, and Stanley B. Kimball, 'The Mormon Trail 
Network in Iowa, 1838-68," Brigham Young University Studies, 21 (Fall 1981), 417-430. 

^ See Allen and Leonard, The Story of the Latter-day Saints, 220. 



agreed-upon spring departure time. (For an artist's version of this exodus from Nauvoo see 
Appendix D, Illustration 5.) In the beginning the weather was terrible, and the vanguard 
of Saints, a mixed group of men, women, and children, were inexperienced as well as 
unprepared. It took a month to cover the first 100 miles~an average of only 3 miles per 

On February 4, 1846, the first wagons, belonging to a Charles Shumway, pulled out of 
Nauvoo, crossed the Mississippi River on ferries near the present Exodus to Greatness 
marker (NR, see Historic Site 1, Chapter 7/ in Nauvoo. After crossing the Mississippi the 
pioneers traveled west some 7 miles to a staging ground at Sugar Creek, Lee County, Iowa 
(see Historic Site 3), to await the arrival of Brigham Young and other church leaders who 
joined them February 15th. 

The initial crossing and camping were neither orderly nor disciplined, and few people had 
followed advice regarding adequate food suppHes. (See Appendix B, Document 1, for "Bill 
of Particulars": items recommended for a Mormon family of five.) In addition to this 
suggested "outfit," which cost about $250, the pioneers needed all the clothing, bedding, and 
other foodstuffs they could acquire. For example, although Heber C. Kimball, an apostle, 
reached Sugar Creek with a two-year supply of food, the mismanagement and 
unpreparedness of others caused his store to be consumed within two weeks. (See Appendix 
D, Illustration 6 and Appendix C, Biographical Sketch 4.) 

In spite of this and other difficulties attending the evacuation, months of planning and 
preparation made the exodus, even though several months ahead of schedule, more orderly 
and successful than is generally believed, and far from the tragic route of folklore. 

Because of the weather, general unpreparedness, and lack of experience in moving large 
groups of people (except for Zion's Camp of 1834), the crossing of Iowa in 1846 was much 
more difficult than the migration west of the Missouri in 1847.^ The skills they learned 
while crossing Iowa in 1846 made the much longer part of the trek from the Missouri River 
to the Valley of the Great Salt Lake in 1847 easier. Through this part of the journey, the 
pioneers also set the pattern for settling the Great Basin. 


By the beginning of March the first group of Mormons were ready to vacate their staging 
ground on Sugar Creek, where they had been gathering since February 4th. No accurate 
record was kept of how many wagons and people were at Sugar Creek that March 
lst~estimates vary from four to five hundred wagons and from three to five thousand 

"* NR indicates that the site is already on the National Register of Historic Places. 
^ This judgement is based on the author's study of trail journals. 


Trek Commences/Difficulties/Skills Learned 
individuals. Five hundred wagons and three thousand people is probably close to the truth.^ 

What from the start was known as the "Camp of Israel" began to lumber out from Sugar 
Creek about noon to the "gee-haws" of teamsters and the yells of herdsmen and children. 
Thereafter, Old Testament parallels to a Zion, a Chosen People, an Exodus, a Mount 
Pisgah, a Jordan River, a Dead Sea, to being "in the tops of the mountains," and making 
the desert blossom like the rose, were noted, devised, cherished, and handed down. The 
Mormons resembled ancient Israel in other ways: they were divided into groups of fifties 
and tens (Exodus 18:21) and, at times, were fractious and whiny. 

A few trail journals give a romantic cast to the exodus across Iowa, that "Mormon 
Mesopotamia" between the Mississippi and the Missouri rivers, but as most other trail 
accounts make clear, the worst part of the entire journey from Nauvoo to the Valley of the 
Great Salt Lake was the beginning. No part of the long trek surpasses the tragedy and 
triumph of this hegira across the rolling, open prairie of Iowa Territory, which then 
consisted of httle more than bluestem prairie grass and stands of oak and hickory forests 
along the numerous rivers and streams and dangerous swamps and bogs. Often, when 
roads did exist, they were most primitive. Some Mormons may have reflected often on the 
frontier sarcasm that it was a middling good road when the mud did not quite reach one's 
boot tops-while astride a horse. Although the Mormons made some improvements along 
the roads and trails they followed across Iowa, they did little, if any, trailblazing. 

Along the Iowa trail, the basic skills of immigrating and colonizing were practiced and 
permanent camps were established. This part of the westward march influenced Mormon 
history long afterward. The Saints had learned only the rudimentary lessons of immigration 
during the Zion's Camp march from Ohio to Missouri in 1834; the advanced training had 
to be acquired in Iowa. 

Through the settled parts of eastern Iowa, the Mormons tried to earn what money they 
could by hiring themselves out to anyone who would pay them. From 1846 through the 
early 1850s, they found sporadic work plowing; planting; fencing; digging wells; cutting logs; 
splitting rails; husking corn; making shingles; digging coal; and building bridges, homes, 
barns, jails, and river locks. They also did some plastering and brick work, and Pitt's Brass 
Band, a group of musicians from this pioneer company, played for dances. 

Although it was generally well known among the Saints that the Camp of Israel was headed 
beyond the Rocky Mountains and into the Great Basin, little was said about where the 
camp would cross the Missouri or where they would pick up the Oregon Trail. They had 

^ No attempt was made initially to move all the Mormons from the Nauvoo area at 
once. Approximately 10,000 Mormons remained in the area until better weather, and 
almost all followed Brigham Young west by that September. This is why the pioneer 
group established several "permanent" camps across Iowa, as detailed later in the text. 
See Allen and Leonard, The Story of the Latter-day Saints, 220-221. 



little intention of returning to Missouri and crossing at Independence, Weston, or St. 
Joseph, and the only other well-established point of crossing to the north was Council 
Bluffs, Iowa Territory, which was closer to Nauvoo. In August 1845, the Quorum of the 
Twelve Apostles (in charge of the church between the death of Smith and the presidency 
of Young) sent several men on a reconnaissance mission to find the best route across Iowa. 
They reported favorably on the Council Bluffs crossing/ 


As the camp moved west some changes and improvements in organization became 
necessary. Only the fundamental arrangement of the trek had been effected at Nauvoo and 
Sugar Creek. For various reasons, many of the original families had returned to Nauvoo, 
and bad roads and weather had scattered others. 

On March 7th the camp reached a place they called Richardson's Point (see Historic Site 
5, Chapter 7), which became the second rest stop in Iowa. The pioneers stayed here until 
March 18th. At Richardson's Point they lightened the loads of some of the wagons by 
burying some cannon balls and shot in the ground, intending to get them at some other 

On March 22nd on the Chariton River, near present-day Sedan, Appanoose County, the 
remaining emigrants were called together and urged to maintain better order. To this end 
they regrouped into three companies, each consisting of one hundred families. All three 
companies were then subdivided into fifties and then tens, each unit led by a captain, the 
most important leaders of which were those of the six groups of fifty-Brigham Young, 
Heber Kimball, Parley P. Pratt, Peter Haws, John Taylor, and George Miller.® (See 
Appendix D, Illustrations 4, 6, 7, 8 and Appendix C, Biographical Sketches 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.) 
This Chariton camp became the third temporary camping place in Iowa. The pioneers 
remained there from March 22nd through March 31st. 

Thereafter, the line of march continued somewhat to the southwest until the companies 
found themselves on Locust Creek (see Historic Site 6), either close to or in Missouri, 
where they made a fourth temporary camp. At that time, since the Missouri boundary was 
about 10 miles north of where it is today, some of them actually dipped into what was then 
Putnam County, Missouri. 

' Kimball, Heber C. Kimball, 133. 
° Watson, Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 107 


"Come, Come Ye Saints" Composed 


It was here on April 14th that a courier arrived with a letter from Nauvoo informing 
William Clayton, the camp clerk, of the safe birth of a son. (See Appendix D, Illustration 
9 and Appendix C, Biographical Sketch 9. Many pregnant women were left behind in the 
relative safety of Nauvoo until the advance company of pioneers worked out the best way 
to travel from the Mississippi to the Missouri. Messengers were frequently sent back to 
help guide the other Mormons who went west in 1846.) The next morning, walking off by 
himself, he wrote in joy and gratitude the words of the now-famous hymn "Come, Come, 
Ye Saints," often called, with some justification, the "Mormon Marseillaise" or the "hymn 
heard around the world." The verses epitomized the Mormon motivation for going west 
and their experience on a dozen trails, some well known, some totally forgotten, between 
New York and Utah from 1831 to the completion of the transcontinental railroad in 1869. 
(For the words to this hymn, see Appendix B, Document 2.) 


From Locust Creek the camp bore more to the north to get away from their old enemies, 
the Missourians. By April 24th the pioneers had reached a place that they named Garden 
Grove (REC, see Historic Site 7 and Appendix D, Illustration 10).^ It was about halfway 
across Iowa, 144 miles west of Nauvoo and 120 miles east of Council Bluffs. Here, on the 
east bank of the Weldon Fork of the Grand River, they established the first of several 
permanent camps between Nauvoo and Winter Quarters. In three weeks they had broken 
715 acres of tough prairie sod, built cabins, and estabhshed a community .^° Although 
nothing of the pioneer camp exists, there is a town by the name of Garden Grove near this 
old campsite and the local school district is named the Mormon Trail District. 


When the camp moved out of Garden Grove on May 12th, enough families were left 
behind to maintain the community and to help later Nauvoo exiles, of which there would 
be thousands. Sbc days and about 35 miles later, they established another permanent camp 
and resting place. This site, on the middle fork (Twelve-Mile Creek) of the Grand River 
and on Potawatomi Indian land, was selected and named Mount Pisgah (REC, see Historic 
Site 8 and Appendk D, Illustration 11) by Parley P. Pratt, who, when he first saw it rising 
above the Iowa prairie, was reminded of the biblical Pisgah (Deuteronomy 3:27), where 

^ REC indicates that the site is recommended for listing on the National Register of 
Historic Places by the author (see page 75). 

'° Watson, Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 144; Allen and Leonard, The Story 
of the Latter-day Saints, 224. 



Moses viewed the Promised Land. There they built cabins and planted several thousand 
acres of rich bottomland lying to the west of the rise with peas, cucumbers, beans, corn, 
buckwheat, potatoes, pumpkins, and squash. Mount Pisgah was maintained as a camp until 
at least 1852. At its height it had over 2,000 inhabitants, most staying until their future 
homes in what is now Utah were more certain.^ ^ 

At Mount Pisgah, after over two and a half months of Iowa mud and other assorted 
troubles, Mormon leaders felt the need for divine guidance, so they withdrew to the 
isolation of the limitless prairie, clothed themselves in temple robes, formed a prayer circle, 
and invoked God for the good of the people and the success of the venture. All along the 
trek such special group prayers were held.^^ 

About 35 miles farther west they deepened some trail ruts still visible today--the only good 
ruts this author has found in Iowa (REC, see Historic Site 10 and Appendix D, Illustration 
12). Mormon Trail ruts are very rare in Iowa for several reasons: the Iowa portion of the 
trail was much less used than the Nebraska and Wyoming portions, the soft soil did not 
hold and preserve the ruts well, and most of the ruts that did remain after the Mormons 
passed have since been destroyed by the plow. 


Late on June 2nd, the camp moved on toward Council Bluffs, some 90 miles to the west, 
leaving behind enough people to improve and maintain Mount Pisgah for the benefit of 
future Saints going west. This last section of the 1846 journey was relatively pleasant: the 
sun dried the roads, grass grew, and wild strawberries flourished. On June 13th, the camp 
reached the Council Bluffs area at the Missouri River, and the first portion of the march 
was nearly over. The vanguard had taken a full four months, 120 days, to cross some 265 
miles of southern Iowa, averaging only about 2.25 miles per day. (For a historical view of 
Council Bluffs and a generalized map of the whole area on both sides of the Missouri, see 
Appendix D, Illustration 13 and Appendix A, Map 13.) 

Despite the troubles experienced while crossing Iowa, the Mormons survived as a 
community, a community that grew stronger on the Missouri River, across the 
trans-Missouri west, and in the Valley of the Great Salt Lake. 

^^ This information comes from an informational kiosk at Mount Pisgah. 

^^ Prayer circles ordinarily were (and are) performed only in Mormon temples. Under 
unusual circumstances, however, they may be performed as at Mount Pisgah. 


Chapter 4 

QUARTERS: 1846-1847 


In the Council Bluffs area the Mormons were not yet in the wilderness. The general area, 
up and down both sides of the river, had been discovered by French and Spanish 
explorer-trappers in the 1700s and had been an Indian trading site since at least 1804, when 
Lewis and Clark met with Indians north of there. Military forts, such as Fort Lisa and Fort 
Atkinson, had been built nearby as early as 1812, steamboats from St. Louis reached there 
as early as 1819, and it was an established point of departure for Oregon and California. 
Francois Guittau founded the first white settlement there at Trader's Point in 1824. In 
1846 there was a village and a steamboat landing on each side of the river, with service to 
Fort Leavenworth, Independence, and St. Louis, and regular mail service. Indian agents 
were located on one, sometimes both, sides of the Missouri, and a Presbyterian Indian 
mission was on the west bank. Many goods and services, including some medical aid, were 
available. ^ 

When the Mormons arrived in 1846 they first called the area Miller's Hollow, then 
Kanesville (after a non-Mormon friend. Colonel Thomas L. Kane). By special charter in 
1853 the State Legislature changed the name to Council Bluffs. The name derived from 
a council held by Lewis and Clark with the Indians in 1804 on the west side of the river 
about 12 miles upstream. 


Here in southern Iowa and eastern Nebraska between 1846 and 1853 the Mormons built 
at least fifty-five temporary and widely separated communities, farmed as much as 15,000 
acres of land, and established three ferries. They eventually occupied five successive 
headquarters sites named Grand Encampment, Cold Spring Camp, Cutler's Park, Winter 
Quarters, and Kanesville (Council Bluffs).^ These numerous communities were established 
primarily to accommodate the thousands of Mormon emigrants, while they were either 
waiting to cross the Missouri River, or resting and preparing financially and physically to 
continue westward to Utah. Most of these communities, some named Barney's Grove, 

^ The best recent study is Bennett, Mormons at The Missouri: 1846-1852. 

^ Gail G. Holmes, "The LDS Legacy in Southwestern Iowa," The Ensign, (August 1988), 



Davis Camp, or Little Pigeon, were close to the Missouri River and disappeared after the 
Mormons went west. 

Initially the pioneers settled temporarily in camps along the bluffs near Mosquito Creek 
(near what is now the Iowa School for the Deaf), on the flats near the Missouri River, and 
near Trading Point (or Indian Town) located today just east of Bellevue, Nebraska-almost 
on the present Pottawattamie-Mills County, Iowa line. In July the Mormons established a 
third, more permanent camp on the Iowa shore, a camp that became known as Kanesville, 
the origin of modern Council Bluffs. 


In the Council Bluffs vicinity the Mormons in general had their first real and sustained 
contacts with Indians. Across Iowa the Mormons had been on Potawatomi lands since they 
left Mount Pisgah. At Council Bluffs they met the Potawatomi chief, Pied Riche, called 
"the clerk" by the French because of his education. The chief, who had been driven from 
his ancestral lands in Michigan by the Indian Removal policy of the 1830s, felt some 
kinship with the Mormons.^ The Indian agent in Council Bluffs, Major Robert B. Mitchell, 
was also friendly to the Mormons. He reported, for example, to the Superintendent of 
Indian Affairs in St. Louis, "I am gratified to say that since their arrival I have seen nothing 
to which exception could be taken... .They complain that they have been badly treated, but 
declare their intention to bear the American Flag to whatever country they cast their lot." ^ 
And across the river at what became Winter Quarters, the Mormons were in close contact 
with the Oto and the Omaha. 

The Omaha were a small tribe of only about 1,500 and where known for their consistent 
friendliness to the whites. The Oto, on the other hand, were considered by both Indians 
and whites to be a thieving people. They numbered about 1,000. Both tribes were 
basically farmers living in permanent earthen lodge villages. 

Chief Big Elk and the Omahas were agreeable to the Mormons settling among them: the 
Indians might benefit from Mormon expertise and what the Saints would leave behind, and 
the whites might afford them some help against their ancient enemy, the warlike Sioux, who 
frequently raided Omaha villages. 

' Kimball, Heber C. Kimball, 138. 

' Office of Indian Affairs, 1824-1881, M234, role 216, frame 497, June 29, 1846, 
National Archives, Washington, D.C. 


The Mormon Battalion 


After the Kanesville camp was made, Mormon leaders were immediately concerned over 
two major problems: sending an advance company to the Rocky Mountains, and locating 
a place for the main portion of the camp to build winter quarters until they, too, could go 
west in the spring. 

On July 1st, the first problem was solved by the process of elimination. On that day, 
Captain James Allen of the U.S. Army's First Regiment of Dragoons of Fort Leavenworth 
rode into the Mosquito Creek camp with a request from President James K. Polk for a 
battalion of 500 Mormon men to fight in the Mexican War. Part of the agreement was that 
the Mormons would be permitted officially to camp on Potawatomi lands and, unofficially, 
allowed to move across the Missouri River and settle temporarily on Omaha lands, which 
had previously been closed to whites. (It was important to the Mormons to put one more 
river between them and the "anti-Mormons.") 

The battalion of about 489 men, some 20 wives who went as laundresses, four to a 
company, and perhaps a dozen boys as officers' aids, (because of imperfect records the 
exact number of men, women, and children in the battalion is not known and estimates 
vary) was eventually raised. They mustered in a little south of what became Council Bluffs, 
near what is now the Iowa School for the Deaf and on July 20th, the new recruits started 
off for Fort Leavenworth, 150 miles down the Missouri. 

There is still, as there was then, a widespread belief among Mormons that raising the 
Mormon Battalion was a great sacrifice on the part of the church to an undeserving 
government. Actually, the government was responding to the requests of Mormon leaders 
for any kind of help in their move to the west.^ The Mormon leaders provided the men 
because it would help demonstrate their loyalty to their country (during wartimes 
Americans, including Mormons, generally work together), and because the church would 
benefit materially from the military pay, from the arms that the men could keep, from the 
uniform money allotments (since Mormons were allowed to wear their own clothes), and 
from the fact that many men would be transported west at government expense. (This last 
point was only partly realized, because, after being discharged, members of the battalion 
had to transport themselves back from California to either Salt Lake City or Winter 
Quarters to pick up or meet with their families.) 


With the question of a pioneer group going west that fall eliminated by the formation of 
the battalion. Young began in earnest to locate winter quarters and to settle the Saints. 
Most of their searching was on the western side of the Missouri River on Indian lands 

Allen and Leonard, The Story of the Latter-day Saints, 226-227. 



disputed by the Omaha and Oto nations. As previously noted, Chief Big Elk and the 
Omaha were agreeable to the Mormons settling among them. 

Cold Spring and Cutler's Park 

Two temporary camps were made opposite Council Bluffs. The first, called Cold Spring 
Camp, in what is now South Omaha, was of very short duration; the second was Cutler's 
Park (see Historic Site 18), after Alpheus Cutler, the father-in-law of Heber C. Kimball, 
who selected it that August. (See Appendix D, Illustration 14.) Cutler's Park is now 
considered to have been the first official town in what became Nebraska. The Mormons 
elected Cutler as mayor, chose a city council of twelve, and hired police and fire guards. 

Winter Quarters 

It was soon decided, however, that Cutler's Park was not suitable and in early September, 
another campsite was selected, 3 miles closer to the river. It was there, in what is now 
Florence (technically North Omaha), Nebraska, that the Saints finally built their Winter 
Quarters, the Mormon "Valley Forge." Winter Quarters (see Historic Sites 19 and 20) soon 
became a city of about 800 cabins, huts, caves, and sod, or "prairie marble," hovels, and 
3,483 people. At its height it had about 4,000 people. (See Appendix A, Map 14.) During 
the winter of 1846-1847 there were approximately another 11,800 Mormons in camps 
scattered throughout lowa.^ 

The Winter Quarters period in church history, 1847-1852 has, until recently, been neglected 
in Mormon historiography. It has now come to be considered one of the most important 
periods in Mormon history, "Mormonism in the raw," as one student put it.^ During these 
years Brigham Young became president of the Mormon Church (in 1847) and inaugurated 
many policies and practices that were later applied in the Great Basin. Particularly 
important were the lessons learned from being in close proximity to Indians-how to 
understand Indian life and customs, how to trade with Indians, and how to prevent and 
punish Indian thievery, for example. Equally important were the lessons learned about 
surviving on the frontier, and how to lead and hold together a people under adverse 
conditions, and how to openly implement doctrines heretofore kept generally secret-the 
doctrines of polygamy and adoption, for example.® The doctrine of polygamy, or plural 
marriage as Mormons prefer to term it, needs little comment. It had been practiced 
secretly in Nauvoo since at least 1841 and was defended on the grounds that it had been 
sanctioned in the Old Testament, was not forbidden in the New, and was necessary to the 

^ Bennett, Mormons at the Missouri, 79-90. 

' Ibid., 169. 

® Ibid., 91-183, passim. 


Mormons and Trail-Side Services 

Mormon concept of the "restoration of all things." It was, however, not publicly admitted 
until 1852, when the Mormons were safely in Utah Territory. The law of adoption 
permitted church leaders to graft entire families onto their families, in order to increase 
their own posterity and blessing in this world and the next. 

The winter of 1846-1847 was grim. At least 400 died from various causes and are buried 
in the Winter Quarters' cemetery (REC, see Historic Site 20, and Appendix D, Illustration 
15). These deaths added to the number already dead from malaria and other fevers. 
Some gave up the faith and returned to the east. Others simply stayed in the area and 
never went west. There was also some trouble with the Indians-mainly stealing. Young 
warned Big Elk, Chief of the Omaha, that any Indians caught stealing would be 
whipped--the same punishment meted out to white malefactors. (Since the Mormons had 
no jails, they found it necessary to practice corporal punishment for a few years./ 

Still the Mormons made the best of things. They organized concerts, dances, (even dancing 
lessons), songfests, feasts, festivals, and sleigh rides, and visited back and forth with the 
other whites on both sides of the river and downstream at Bellevue. ^° 

In Winter Quarters the Mormons received some unexpected and welcomed information 
regarding the mountain west. That November, as previously noted, the famous Jesuit, 
Father Pierre Jean de Smet, stopped and visited with the Mormons. He was en route to 
St. Louis after spending five years in the mountains preaching to the Flathead Indians and 
was one of the few white men who had visited the Great Salt Lake. Taking full advantage 
of this good luck, the Mormons asked him every question they could think of. De Smet 
took it goodnaturedly and some years later wrote a brief account of this meeting. 



During that winter, and throughout the next several years, until at least 1852, Mormons on 
both sides of the Missouri tried to make money offering what we might call trail-side 
services, such as blacksmithing, ferrying, cooking, baking, sewing, and selling hay, corn, and 
wheat. They even provided some warehousing services. In addition, they handcrafted items 
such as baskets, flour sacks, chairs, washboards, tables, and hats to the many hundreds of 
non-Mormon emigrants who also jumped-off for the Far West from that area. The area 

' Ibid., and Kimball, Heber C. Kimball, 145. 
^° Bennett, Mormons at the Missouri, 168-173. 

^' As cited by Leiand H. Creer, The Founding of an Empire (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 
1947), 167-168. 



was a very popular point of departure for non-MormonsJ^ Some did a little "doctoring" and 
pulled and cleaned teeth. Others made wine from elderberries and sold it. Some of the 
sisters also taught school, did washings, sewed, cooked, baby-sat, spun yarn, made clothing, 
and worked in restaurants and boarding houses. Some men went south into Missouri to 
seek work for short periods. 

Throughout their emigrating period, to 1869, Mormons took every opportunity to make 
money by offering such services. West of the Missouri River they continued to offer 
blacksmithing services; they established ferries on the Elkhorn and Loup rivers (one was 
near what became Genoa) and did some contract bridging across the Green River (in what 
is now Wyoming) and down Echo Canyon (in what is now Utah), for example. 

Over the years Mormon emigrants also used trail-side services provided by "Gentiles," or 
non-Mormons. West of the Missouri River, in what is now Nebraska, Mormons could have 
obtained supplies at settlements such as Fremont, North Bend, Columbus, Buchanan (near 
Shell Creek, which no longer exists), Cleveland (west of Columbus, which no longer exists), 
Monroe, Grand Island, Fort Kearny, Fort McPherson, (these two forts were on the Oregon 
Trail) and at scattered trading posts, such as Robidoux's near Scotts Bluff, and at various 
"road ranches." 

Across what is now Wyoming, there was an ever-increasing number of trading posts and 
forts useful to the Mormons located at Dripps Trading Post, the Bordeaux Station, Fort 
Laramie, Ward and Guerrier's Trading Post, Horseshoe Station, Labonte Station, Deer 
Creek Station, Fort Caspar, Devil's Gate Station and fort, and St. Mary's Station, among 


After the dreary winter of 1846-1847 passed, the Mormon Pioneer advance party readied 
to continue west during the spring of 1847. And after they successfully planted a colony in 
what is now Utah, Young and other leaders returned to Winter Quarters to lead a much 
bigger group west in 1848. Thereafter, Winter Quarters was quickly abandoned. The 
Mormons who did not go west at that time tended to congregate near what was to become 
Council Bluffs, Iowa, until such time as they could continue on west. Some Mormons 
remained in western Iowa until at least 1853. They founded a newspaper, the Frontier 
Guardian (1849-1852) and made money helping with church migration and, as previously 
noted, also catering to the needs of thousands of other Americans traveling to Oregon and 

^^ Merrill J. Mattes, "The Northern Route of the Non-Mormons: Rediscovery of 
Nebraska's Forgotten Historic Trail," Overland Journal. 8 (No.2, 1990), 2-14. 


Chapter 5 


In early January 1847, the pioneer company began in earnest to prepare to leave for the 
Rocky Mountains that spring. The traditional time, the "window," to head west from the 
Missouri River was sometime between April 15th and May 30th. This vanguard differed 
from other westering Americans in that they were not interested in just getting themselves 
west, but in improving the trail for the benefit of the many thousands of their 
co-religionists, who would soon be following them to their new Zion. (For short accounts 
of those who followed the pioneers of 1847 west, see Chapter 6.) Among the improvements 
the pioneers made were cutting down the banks of deep stream beds so that wagons could 
cross them easier, bridging small creeks, marking the trail with signs, locating good fords, 
and establishing ferries.^ 

Some idea of the staggering logistics of preparation for such a venture can be gained from 
the following inventory, detailed to the last half-cent, of what Heber C Kimball assembled 
and transported in his six wagons: 

Teams belonging to H.C. Kimball: Horses 5, mules 7, oxen 6, cows 2, dogs 2, 
wagons 6. List of provisions: Flour 1,228 lbs., meat 865 lbs., sea biscuits 125 lbs., 
beans 296 lbs., bacon 241 lbs., corn for teams 2,869 lbs., buckwheat 300 lbs., dried 
beef 25 lbs., groceries 290y4 lbs., sole leather 15 lbs., oats 10 bus., rap 40 lbs., seeds 
71 lbs., cross-cut saw 1, axes 6, scythe 1, hoes 3, log chains 5, spade 1, crowbar 1, 
tent 1, keg of powder 25 lbs., lead 20 lbs., codfish 40 lbs., garden seeds 50 lbs., plows 
2, bran V-h bus., 1 side of harness leather, whip saw 1, iron 16 lbs., nails 16 lbs., 1 
sack of salt 200 lbs., saddles 2, 1 tool chest, 6 pairs of double harness. Total 
$ 1,592.87 V2.' 


Apparently the original idea, by design or accident (but in any case consonant with the 
tendency of Mormons to pattern themselves after the ancient House of Israel), was to hand- 
pick and outfit 144 men (including three Black slaves or "servants" of southern members 
and two non-Mormons selected for their special skills)"twelve for each of the Twelve 
Tribes of Israel, in seventy-two wagons. The pioneer band was hand-picked by Young and 

' Preston Nibley, Exodus to Greatness: The Story of the Mormon Migration, (Salt Lake 
City: Deseret News Press, 1947), passim. 

^ Howard L Eagan, Pioneering the West, (Richmond, Utah: Eagan Estate, 1917), 24. 



Other top church leaders. Men were interviewed and selected with a view to making roads, 
building bridges, erecting temporary quarters, and other pioneering skills. Collectively 
those chosen had a variety of talents and skills. There were mechanics, teamsters, hunters, 
frontiersmen, carpenters, sailors, soldiers, accountants, bricklayers, blacksmiths, 
wagonmakers, lumbermen, joiners, dairymen, stockmen, millers, and engineers-varying in 
ability, temperament, and saintliness; they represented a cross section of humanity.^ 

The numerical symmetry was not essential. Even before the group left Winter Quarters, 
three women and two children were added and a few days later one sick man returned to 
Winter Quarters. En route, nineteen men left the pioneers on other assignments and thirty 
persons were added. So the original 144 was augmented by 35 and decreased by 20, leaving 
a net gain of 15. A final group of 159 members entered the Valley of the Great Salt Lake 
in July 1847. (See Appendix B, Document 3 for a roster of the Pioneer Company.) 

The unanticipated inclusion of three women and two children in an otherwise all-male 
venture was occasioned by the insistence of Young's younger brother, Lorenzo, that he be 
allowed to take his asthmatic wife, Harriet, and her two children. This, of course, 
necessitated including at least one or two other females to keep Harriet company. 
Fortuitously, Brigham had married Harriet's daughter, Clara Decker, so he took her. 
Kimball took Ellen Sanders, one of his sixteen wives. Her child, born February 13, 1848, 
was one of the first to be born in what is now Utah. Rank had its privileges. 

The pioneers of 1847 were much better disciplined than was Zion's Camp of 1834, or the 
crossing of Iowa in 1846. This was in part the result of a revelation given to Brigham 
Young on January 14, 1847, at Winter Quarters-the only revelation Young ever published. 
It began, "The Word and Will of the Lord concerning the Camp of Israel in their journey 
to the west," and is known today as Section 136 of the Doctrine and Covenants. Basically 
the revelation gave details on camp organization. (See Appendix B, Document 4 for the full 
text of this revelation.) Equally important was the fact that the Mormons had learned 
valuable lessons while crossing Iowa, especially the value of discipline. 

For a variety of reasons, including expense, the Mormons never hired professional guides 
or outfitters, although they consulted with them whenever possible. They preferred to "trust 
in the Lord" and pick up trail savvy as they moved along. Men were appointed to scout the 
trail and others to ride along the front, flanks, and rear-guarding and enclosing the moving 
camp in a box-like formation. Neither persons nor animals could be allowed to roam. 
Disreputable whites and Indians had to be kept at a safe distance, and wolves had to be 
restrained from picking off stray or weakened animals."* 

^ A good study of these individual pioneers is Andrew Jenson, Day by Day with The 
Utah Pioneers of 1847, a series of newspaper articles published in 1934 in the Deseret 
News and subsequently bound into book form. 

"* This information comes from the author's reading of hundreds of trail accounts. 


Scientific Instruments and Obsen'ations 

The scouting assignment was vital. Not that there was much chance of getting lost on the 
established trails the Mormons used, but water, feed, fuel, grades, crossings, and whatever 
might prove dangerous to man or beast had to be anticipated, found, and reported. Eight 
men were appointed to hunt on horseback and eleven to hunt on foot. 

Contrary to myth and popular belief, this 1847 trek of approximately 1,032 miles and 111 
days was not one long and unending trail of tears or a trial by fire. It was actually a great 
adventure. Over the decades, Mormons have emphasized the tragedies of the trail, and 
tragedies there were, but generally after 1847. Between 1847 and the building of the 
railroad in 1869, at least 6,000 died along the trail from exhaustion, exposure, disease, and 
lack of food. Few were killed by Indians.^ To the vast majority, however, the experience 
was positive~a difficult and rewarding struggle.^ Nobody knows how many Mormons 
migrated west during those years, but 70,000 people in 10,000 vehicles is a close estimate. 
(See Appendix B, Document 5.) To the 143 men, 3 women, and 2 children who left Winter 
Quarters, the 111-day pioneer trek of 1847 was mostly a great adventure, with a dramatic 
ending. One hundred and eleven days later Brigham Young entered the valley and 
declared, "This is the place, drive on." 

The feelings of the female pioneers, the three who left Winter Quarters and the six who 
joined at Fort Laramie, were, naturally, somewhat different. At least two of them saw only 
a wilderness, a reptile's paradise. "I have come 1,200 miles to reach this valley and walked 
much of the way," Clara Decker, Young's wife, said, "but I am willing to walk 1,000 miles 
farther rather than remain here." Her mother, Harriet, echoingly said, "We have traveled 
fifteen hundred miles over prairies, deseret, and mountains, but, feeble as I am, I would 
rather go a thousand miles farther than stay in such a place as this." ^ Nevertheless, they 


The 1847 pioneer trek from "civilization to sundown" took a few days to get properly under 
way, as did the trip in 1846, when the Camp of Israel left Nauvoo. Kimball moved three 
wagons out 4 miles on April 5th (see Historic Site 21), but returned to Winter Quarters to 
meet with John Taylor (see Appendix D, Illustration 8 and Appendix C, Biographical 
Sketch 7) who had just arrived from England with some specially ordered scientific 
instruments for Orson Pratt (see Appendix D, Illustration 16 and Appendix C, Biographical 

^ Kimball, "Red Men and White Women on Mormon Trails." 

^ This observation is based on a study of many trail journals. The best recent study 
of overland emigration in general, including the Mormons, is Unruh, The Plains Across: 
The Overland Emigrants and the Trans-Mississippi West, 1840-1860. 

^ Kimball, Heber C. Kimball, 170. 



Sketch 10). The ehte, fast-moving, well-equipped, exploring band of pioneers were not just 
taking themselves to the valley, they were charting a road that the Saints and others would 
use for more than twenty years. For this they needed sextants, a circle of reflection, 
artificial horizons, barometers, thermometers, and telescopes.^ The Mormons became a 
part of what is now known as the "Great Reconnaissance" of the Far West.^ 

Orson Pratt, a Mormon with some astronomy and engineering skills, served informally as 
the pioneers' "scientific member." He had made a few sightings along the trail from 
Nauvoo, but they are of little value today. Beyond the Missouri his latitudinal 
determinations were made, according to his journal, alternately by "meridian observation 
of Sirius," by "altitude of the Pole Star," by "meridian observations of the sun," and by the 
"meridian altitude of the moon." With the aid of the new instruments just received from 
England, his latitudinal determinations were quite accurate. 


Lacking a suitable chronometer, however, his few longitudinal sightings made by the 
"angular distance of the sun and moon taken by sextant and circle" cannot be trusted. Even 
Fremont, who often spent hours making multiple sightings of the occultations of the planets 
and stars by the moon and the Jupiterian satellites, had difficulty determining proper 
longitude. Along the Platte River a miscalculation of only one minute causes an error of 
6,000 feet in latitude and 4,500 feet in longitude. 


On April 5, 1847, the first wagons started west and after a few days the main body of 
pioneers were at their staging ground on the Platte River, 47 miles west, near what is now 
Fremont, Nebraska. This site was later dubbed the Liberty Pole staging ground because 
later Mormon emigrants erected a forty-foot-tall cottonwood pole, flying a white flag, 
here.^^ (See Historic Site 23.) This staging ground on the Platte, similar to the earlier 
staging ground at Sugar Creek in 1846 in Iowa, was necessary since leaders like Young and 
Kimball had to go back and forth between Winter Quarters and the Platte in order to get 

° Watson, Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 1846-47, 548. 

^ An excellent study of the Great Reconnaissance is William H. Goetzmann, Army 
Exploration in the American West: 1803-63, Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1979. 

^° Orson Pratt Journal, April-July 1847, passim, Mormon Church archives. The author 
has plotted all of Pratt's sightings on modern maps. See Kimball, W. Clayton's The Saints' 
Emigrants' Guide. 


Kimball, W. Clayton's The Latter-Day Saints' Emigrants' Guide, 42. 


1847 Trek Begins 

the "drag tails" under way, and the whole migration organized and ready to goJ^ On April 
14th, Young and Kimball left Winter Quarters and joined the main camp at the Liberty 
Pole Camp. 

At the Platte River camp the group consisted of 148 people, 72 wagons, 93 horses, 66 oxen, 
52 mules, 19 cows, 17 dogs, and some chickens. There they organized paramilitary fashion 
into two large divisions, each of which was split into units of 50s and 10s, each with its 
respective leaders. Young led the first division, Kimball the second; Stephen Markham and 
Albert P. Rockwood were appointed captains of the hundred, with Addison Everett, Tarlton 
Lewis, James Case, John Pack, and Addison Roundy captains of the 50s. 



The real beginning of the trek of 1847 and the whole trans-Missouri Mormon migration 
that followed was at 7:30 on the morning of Monday, April 19th. The company moved out 
from their staging area and the grand adventure began. (For maps of the trail from Winter 
Quarters to Utah see Appendk A, Maps 7-9.) 

As previously noted, the Mormons had prepared themselves for this pioneering venture by 
studying as much trail literature and as many travel guides as they could, including works 
by Irving, Fremont, Hastings, Parker, and Long, and had acquired maps by Long, Wilkes, 
Bonneville, Fremont, and Mitchell. They referred to the maps and accounts en route, to 
check their location. 

The Platte River, rising in Colorado and one of the largest branches of the Missouri, is very 
broad and shallow, a meandering, braided river that old timers used to say "flowed upside 
down" ~ a reference to the many visible sandbars. One disgruntled pioneer remarked that 
it would make a pretty good stream if it were turned on its side. Travelers seemed to enjoy 
thinking up insults for the Platte. The consensus regarding this river was that it was a mile 
wide, six inches deep, too thick to drink, too thin to plow, hard to cross because of 
quicksand, impossible to navigate, too yellow to wash in, and too pale to paint with. For 
hundreds of miles the pioneers hauled themselves across its flat, monotonous plain in what 
is now Nebraska. 

There is some evidence that the pioneers knew in advance that they were going into the 
Great Basin somewhere near its eastern rim, along the western slope of the Wasatch 
Mountains. As early as 1842, as previously noted, some claimed Smith said that the Saints 
would go there, and church leaders had studied Fremont's account and maps of the area. 
But into which of the several unclaimed valleys? En route, the pioneers consulted with 

""^ Watson, Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 546-548. 
'' Ibid., 549 and Kimball, Heber C. Kimball, 151. 



everyone they could about the region, including some famous mountain men-Moses Harris, 
Jim Bridger, and Miles GoodyearJ'* It appears that as they moved toward and into the 
Great Basin, they gradually decided to settle in the Valley of the Great Salt Lake. 

The camp moved deliberately, casually, about 2 miles an hour (the pace of oxen pulling 
heavy wagons), and under little pressure. Their best distance for one day was 23y4-miles, 
but they averaged only 10 miles a day. There was no need to get to the mountains before 
winter snows had melted. 


West of Winter Quarters the Mormons followed generally what is sometimes called the 
Great Platte River Road or the north branch of the Oregon Trail, which had always been 
regarded as the most advantageous approach to the easiest crossing of the Rocky 
Mountains. The original Oregon Trail, from 1812, was north of the Platte and after 
Independence Missouri became the eastern terminus around 1827, it shifted to the south 
side. The Mormons of 1847 simply followed the older Oregon Trail to Fort Laramie, 
where they crossed the North Platte River and picked up the then main route of the 
Oregon Trail. (In trail days whatever side of the Platte a party started out on is the side 
it remained on; no emigrants crossed that river unless absolutely necessary. Had the 
Mormons started out south of the Platte, they probably would have remained on that side.) 
Among those who preceded the Mormons west along the north bank of the Platte were 
Indians, trappers, traders, Robert Stuart, James Clyman, Major Stephen H. Long, Samuel 
Parker, the Marcus-Whitman party of 1836, and the Townsend-Murphey group of 1844. 
And many non-Mormons followed the pioneers of 1847, for the Council Bluffs area was a 
very important and popular jumping off place throughout the westering period in American 

The simplest way of following the pioneers (and most subsequent Mormon emigrants) from 
"civilization to sundown" is to divide the trail into four sections and relate them to the 
Oregon Trail, the "main street to the west." 

The Oregon Trail proper of the 1840s started at Independence, Missouri, and 
crossed Kansas, Nebraska, Wyoming, and Idaho. The first section of the Mormon 
Trail from Winter Quarters was generally along the north bank of the Platte River, 
some 185 miles to near what is now Kearney, Nebraska. Up to this point the 
Mormon Trail and the Oregon Trail of the late 1840s were entirely separate. 

The second portion of the Mormon Trail was from Kearney to Fort Laramie, 
Wyoming. AJong this approximately 320-mile-long section, the two trails followed 

^^ Watson, Manuscript History of Brigtiam Young, 560-561 and William Clayton's 
Journal, 289. 


The Trail/Divisions and Topography 

the Platte, the Mormons on the north bank and the Oregonians on the south. Since 
in the 1840s, the favored route to Oregon and CaHfornia was along the south bank 
of the Platte, it might appear that the Mormons pioneered the north bank trail, but 
actually during the 1820s and 1830s the north bank had been the preferred way, used 
by fur trappers and missionaries.^^ As late as 1846, the famous historian Francis 
Parkman took the northern route to South Pass. 

The third section of the trail was from Fort Laramie to Fort Bridger. Here the 
Mormons followed the Oregon Trail proper for some 397 miles. 

The fourth and final section of about 116 miles started at Fort Bridger, where the 
Oregon Trail turned north and where the Mormons left the Oregon Trail and picked 
up the year-old Reed-Donner track through the Rockies into the Salt Lake Valley. 

West of Winter Quarters the Mormons passed along river valleys, across grasslands, plains, 
steppes, deserts, and mountains, and through western forests, experiencing dramatic changes 
in flora and fauna. Topographically the trail led across the Central Lowlands of eastern 
Nebraska, covered with the tall prairie grass of blue stem and needle; across the High 
Plains of central Nebraska and the Upland Trough of western Nebraska and eastern 
Wyoming, blanketed with short, stubby plains grasses such a grama and buffalo; through the 
Wyoming Basin with its desert shrub of sagebrush, creosote bush, and greasewood; through 
the forests of Douglas fir and scrub oak of the middle Rocky Mountains, and into the 
sagebrush desert of the Great Basin. 

From Winter Quarters they followed the broad, flat valley of the Platte for some 600 miles 
and the beneficent little Sweetwater for about 93 more, all the while enjoying an 
increasingly rugged and beautiful land, and finally zigzagging through a series of defiles and 

They traversed the empire of the bison, wolf, antelope, bear, coyote, goat, elk, fox, raccoon, 
rabbit, hare, gray swan, great blue heron, and quail; the bee, grasshopper, and firefly; the 
rattlesnake, copperhead, lizard, and turtle; the grayling, catfish, and trout. Seasonally the 
area was a piebald garden of sunflowers, daisies, gayfeather, and butterfly milkweed. The 
modern traveler can still find some parts of the old trail (see Historic Sites, Chapter 7). 
Much of the plains, deserts, mountains, steppes, and forests remain, but the tall grass 
prairie is almost all gone, a victim of the white man's plow. (See previous section on 
Mormons and the Environment.) 

'' Mattes, The Great Platte River Road. 



Part I, Winter Quarters to Kearney, Nebraska 

From their staging ground the Mormon Pioneers followed the Platte to near what is now 
Columbus, where they decided to follow the Loup Fork of the Platte. (See Appendix D, 
Illustration 17.) Near here the pioneers (and later Mormons) had their first meeting with 
a group of Plains Indians--a band of Pawnee,^^ the largest indigenous tribe in Nebraska, 
numbering as many as 10,000 people. The nation was centered on the Loup River and 
habitually demanded gifts from white travelers near Shell Creek. Later the pioneers, who 
would meet other groups of Plains Indians such as the Sioux and the Crow, were entering 
the Great Plains at a time of great disorder and intertribal warfare. The inexorable push 
of the white man west had driven a jumble of eastern Indians onto the Great Plains, where 
they were considered invaders by the natives. 

On April 24th, the pioneers crossed the Loup near what is now Fullerton (see Historic Site 
25) and went due south about 16 miles, where they again picked up the Platte. On 
May 1st, just west of what is today Kearney, Nebraska, the pioneers sighted a herd (or, to 
pedantically use the proper noun of assembly, an obstinacy) of bison.^^ Originally the 
animal had ranged from the Appalachians. Some were even known to live along the east 
coast from Virginia to Florida, to the Rockies, but by 1820 had been killed off east of the 
Missouri River. In 1847 the Mormons found them 200 miles farther west, along the Platte 
and Sweetwater rivers. A hunt was quickly organized. Four wagon loads of meat were 
secured and the camp feasted. 

Part II, Kearney to Fort Laramie 

A few days later, on May 5th, the pioneers experienced another of the great natural 
phenomena of the plains--a prairie fire. Usually caused by dry lightning or Indians, it 
became a scourging wall of flame that, wind-driven, could reach a height of twenty feet, 
could scorch and blind buffalo, overtake a horse, and easily engulf a slow-moving ox train. 
Nebraska country was a great sea of grass, which summer sun and winter frost regularly 
dried or killed, leaving it tinder to great fires every fall and spring. There are only two 
ways of fighting such a fire: with firebreaks or backfires. The pioneers had time for 
neither, they simply drove their wagons to a convenient island in the Platte and let the fire 
pass harmlessly by. 

On May 10th, west of the confluence of the North and South Platte rivers, several pioneers 
gave some thought to making an instrument to attach to a wagon wheel that would measure 
miles traveled. Prior to this William Clayton had kept track of distance by tying a red cloth 
to a wagon wheel and counting its revolutions (360 to the mile). The device was an endless 
screw fashioned out of wood. It was because of this measuring device and his detailed 

'' William Clayton's Journal, 84-87. 
'' Ibid., 116-117. 


The Trail/Divisions and Topography 

journal that Clayton was later, in 1848, to publish his famous The Latter-day- Saints' 
Emigrants' Guide. (See Appendix D, Illustration 18.) 

West of Ash Hollow, a famous camping site on the Oregon Trail, the Mormons entered the 
broken lands of the Upper Missouri Basin and the terrain became increasingly more 
interesting and varied. For 80 miles to Scotts Bluff, the pioneers traveled through what 
might loosely be called a monument valley. Along this stretch on both sides of the river 
are some of the most famous and dramatic topographical features of the Mormon and 
Oregon-CaHfornia Trails. Courthouse Rock, Chimney Rock, and Scotts Bluff guarded the 
Oregon Trail, while Indian Lookout Point and Ancient Ruins Bluff sentineled the Mormon 
Trail. In mid-May they crossed a short section of Nebraska's Sand Hills, where ruts can 
still be found. (REC, see Historic Site 27 and Appendix D, Illustration 19.) 

On May 22nd the pioneers made camp near the most impressive topographic site along the 
entire Mormon Trail, a place the Mormons called Ancient Ruins Bluff, which consists of 
three separate and magnificently eroded formations. (See Historic Site 30 and Appendix 
D, Illustration 20.) On Sunday, May 24th, Brigham Young and others climbed the main 
bluff. While there, they wrote their names on a buffalo skull and left it on the southwest 
corner.^® (Years later this author tried to find this skull but, of course, it was no longer 

In this general area the pioneers engaged is some mock trials and elections. James 
Davenport, for example, was accused of "blocking the highway and turning ladies out of the 
way," and "Father" Chamberlain was voted the most even-tempered man in camp--always 
cross and quarrelsome.^^ 

On May 24th, at their camp opposite Courthouse Rock, at one time thought to have been 
named from its fancied resemblance to the St. Louis courthouse, the pioneers were visited 
by a party of Sioux, certainly the largest of the Great Plains tribes and the most dominant. 
The visit was pleasant and the pioneers were favorably impressed with the Indians."" 


On May 26th, they passed Chimney Rock--a principal milestone, which, though only 452 
miles from Winter Quarters, came to be considered sort of a halfway mark. This most 
familiar sight on the Oregon Trail was an eroded tusk of Brule clay jutting some 500 feet 
above the Platte. No one is known to have successfully climbed it, but there is one legend 
that an Indian suitor, in order to win a bride, reached the top, only to plunge to his death. 


Ibid., 177. 

'' Ibid., 176. 


See Jenson, Day by Day, May 24th, and Stanley Kimball and Hal Knight, 1 1 1 Days 
to lion, Salt Lake City: Deseret Press, 1979, 114-115. 



On Friday, May 28th, they were opposite the massive formations of clay and sandstone 
called Scotts Bluff and passed the future site of the famous Rebecca Winter's grave. (REC, 
see Historic Site 31, and Appendix D, Illustration 21.) The grave is famous, because it is 
one of the very few authenticated Mormon emigrant graves known. 

The following day was Sunday and, just east of what today is the Wyoming state line near 
Henry, Young convened a special meeting. They went out on the bluffs (see Historic Site 
32), clothed themselves in their temple robes and held a prayer circle to pray for guidance. 

That same day they spotted the pyramidal bulk of Laramie Peak looming regally above the 
"Black Hills," today's Laramie Mountains, the first western mountains seen by westering 
Americans. (See Appendix D, Illustration 22.) A day later they passed out of what is now 
Nebraska and came upon a wagon track that led them to Fort Laramie, 30 miles farther 

Fort Laramie (NR, see Historic Site 33) has had at least three names. It was founded in 
1834 as Fort William, later called Fort John, by which name the pioneers knew it, and then 
in 1849 it became Fort Laramie, after a French trapper, Jacques LaRamie.^^ Thus far the 
pioneers had suffered no deaths, little illness, and the loss of only four horses, two to the 
Indians and two accidentally killed--one was shot (loaded firearms kept in jolting wagons 
or held by people on horseback claimed many a life needlessly on the frontier), the other 
fell into a ravine while tethered, and broke its neck. 

In 1847 while at Fort Laramie, the pioneers rested their animals and themselves and 
prepared to pick up the Oregon Trail, the longest wagon road in history. Called the main 
street of the old west, the Oregon Trail stretched over 2,000 miles from Independence, 
Missouri, to the Columbia River. It had been blazed between 1811 and 1839 and thereafter 
tens of thousands used the trail annually on their way to Oregon and California. Estimates 
range from 350,000 to 500,000 people used the Oregon Trail up until the coming of the 
railroad in 1869.^^ Those going to California left the Oregon Trail at Soda Springs and 
Fort Hall in what is now Idaho. 

While at Fort Laramie, the pioneers were joined by seventeen advance members of the 
"Mississippi Saints" from Monroe County, Mississippi, who had been waiting for them for 
two weeks. Among this advance group were six females: Elizabeth Crow and her five 
daughters. The Mississippi Saints told the pioneers that most of their group and some 
soldiers of the Mormon Battalion, too sick to pursue the march any farther (commonly 

^^ Somehow, probably because he was killed by Indians, Jacques not only got a fort 
named after him, but a mountain range, peak, river, city, and a county, as shown on 
Wyoming maps. 

^^ See Mattes, The Great Platte River Road, 23; and Gregory M. Franzwa, The 
Oregon Trail Revisited, (St. Louis: The Patrice Press, 1988). 


The Trail/Divisions and Topography 

called the Sick Detachment), were at Fort Pueblo in what was to become Colorado " To 
help this group join the pioneers in the Valley, Young dispatched four men to Fort Pueblo. 
This meant a net gain of thirteen individuals, bringing the number of the pioneer group to 
161 people with 77 wagons. 

Part III, Fort Laramie to Fort Bridger 

On Saturday, June 5th, the pioneers were ready to leave for the continental divide at South 
Pass and Fort Bridger, 397 miles west. For a little over one month the pioneers would be 
on the Oregon Trail with several other Gentile (non-Mormon) companies, with whom they 
would vie for the best campgrounds, feed, and priority in fording rivers. 

On their first day out from Fort Laramie they came to what is now called Mexican Hill 
(REC, see Historic Site 34 and Appendix D, Illustration 23). They may have been familiar 
with the frontier hyperbole regarding this steep cut down the bluffs to the river. While 
descending, so the story went, if a tin cup fell out of a wagon it would land in front of the 
oxen. Two miles west of Mexican Hill is Register Cliff (NR, see Historic Site 35) and IVi 
miles beyond that are some of the most dramatic trail ruts in the world-four feet deep in 
solid rock-near what is now Guernsey, Wyoming, in Guernsey State Park. (NR, see 
Historic Site 36, and Appendix D, Illustration 24.) Near here is Warm Springs Canyon, the 
Emigrants' Wash Tub (see Historic Site 37), where the water is always a warm 70 degrees. 

Two days later, near Horseshoe Creek, Heber C. Kimball discovered a large spring (see 
Historic Site 38), which was named after him. On Sunday, June 13th, while at their fording 
site on the Platte, frequently referred to as "Last Crossing," the pioneers established a ferry 
for the Saints who would follow. It was also established to be a money-making venture. 
Ten men were left behind to operate and maintain what soon became known as Mormon 
Ferry. (NR, see Historic Site 40.) 

When the pioneers left Last Crossing on June 19th, they quit the Platte for good. From the 
Elk Horn River to Last Crossing they had followed its generally gentle valley for more than 
600 miles. The easy part of the trek was over, as the next 50 miles would prove. The 
stretch from Last Crossing through Emigrant Gap, by Avenue of Rocks, Willow Springs and 
up Prospect Hill (see Historic Sites 41-44) to the Sweetwater River near Independence 
Rock (see Historic Site 45) was the worst section of the whole trail between Nauvoo and 
the Salt Lake Valley. It was a "Hell's Reach" of few and bad campsites, bad water, little 
grass, one steep hill, swamps, and stretches of alkali flats.^"* 

But the pioneers endured and lived to enjoy refreshing draughts of the Sweetwater River, 
which probably acquired its name either from American trappers because of its contrast 


Watson, Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 556-557 and 608. 
^'^ This evaluation is based on the author's personal observations. 



with the other brackish streams in the vicinity, or from French voyagers, who called it the 
Eau Sucree because a pack mule loaded with sugar was lost in its water. This small, gentle, 
beneficent river, which all Oregonians and Mormons followed for 93 miles to South Pass 
(NR, see Historic Site 52), made it possible for travelers to reach their destination in one 
season, avoiding a winter in such desolate country. 

Like all travelers before and after them, the pioneers stopped to climb the huge 
turtle-shaped Independence Rock and some carved or painted their initials or names into 
or on it. Four and a half miles west was the equally famous Devil's Gate (REC, see 
Historic Site 46 and Appendix D, Illustration 25), another popular resting place on the trail. 
Its name derives from the notion that the formation bears the profiles of twin petrified 
genies. It is a 1,500-foot-long, 370-foot-deep gap in a rocky spur, through which flows the 
Sweetwater. Signatures can still be found in this gap. 

West of Devil's Gate came Martin's Cove (NR, see Historic Site 47, and Appendix D, 
Illustration 26), the Split Rock ruts (REC, see Historic Site 48 and Appendix D, Illustration 
27), Three Crossings (see Historic Site 49), the Ice Springs (Historic Site 50), the Willie's 
Handcart grave (REC, see Historic Site 51, and Appendix D, Illustration 28), and South 

On June 27th they crossed the flat, almost imperceptible 7,750-foot-high continental divide 
at South Pass, the "Cumberland Gap" of the Far West. Oregonians and Californians tried 
to reach this pass by July 4th in order to get to their destinations before winter. (The 
Mormons, with a shorter distance to go, did not have to be so careful.) At Pacific Springs 
(see Historic Site 53), immediately west of South Pass, the pioneers refreshed themselves 
and their animals. These famous springs, so named because their waters flowed to the 
Pacific Ocean, were the recognized beginning of the sprawling and ill-defined Oregon 

A few miles farther, on the aptly named Dry Sandy, they met Moses Harris, the first of the 
mountain men with whom they consulted about their destination. Harris, who had roamed 
the west for twenty-five years, did not think much of the country around the Great Salt 
Lake; he said it was barren, sandy, and destitute of timber and vegetation except wild sage. 
On the next day, still on the Dry Sandy, the pioneers met the famous Jim Bridger, who was 
on his way to Fort Laramie, and spent some time with him discussing the Valley of the 
Great Salt Lake. This camp was the setting of Bridger's well-known challenge that he 
would give a thousand dollars for a bushel of corn raised in the Great Basin.^^ For his 
help, Young gave Bridger a pass for the Mormon Ferry on the Platte. 

At this time, Bridger, who was quite "likkered up," entertained them with some of his tall 
tales, like the one about the glass mountain strewn about with the corpses of animals and 
birds that had killed themselves running and flying into it; or the one about petrified birds 

^^ Watson, Manuscript History of Brig ham Young, 560-561 . 


The Trail/Divisions and Topography 

singing in a petrified forest; perhaps the one about a stream that ran so fast it cooked the 
trout in it; or about the rock he threw across the Sweetwater River, which just kept on 
growing until it became Independence Rock; and maybe the story of the time some Indians 
chased him up a narrow canyon closed at the head by a 200-foot waterfall. "And how did 
you escape, Jim?" the Mormons may have asked. "I didn't," he'd have answered, "they 
scalped me." ^^ 

June 29th was a banner day: the Mormons, passing the famous Parting of the Ways (NR, 
see Historic Site 54) made the best distance of the whole crossing-23y4-miles, against an 
overall average of 10 miles per day. Such a distance was covered only because there was 
no water between the Dry Sandy and the Sandy. By July 3rd they were at the Green River 
where they established another ferry. (See Historic Site 56.) From there they passed 
Church Butte (see Historic Site 57, and Appendix D, Illustration 29) and, finally, on the 
afternoon of July 7th, they arrived at Fort Bridger (NR, see Historic Site 58 and Appendix 
D, Illustration 30), a poorly built ramshackle adobe establishment on Black's Fork of the 
Green River, put up in 1842 to service emigrants on the Oregon Trail. 

Part IV, Fort Bridger to the Valley of the Great Salt Lake 

The pioneers tarried at this rather shabby fort just long enough to do some trading and 
repair their wagons, especially the running gear and wheels. At 8:00 A.M. on Friday, July 
9th, the pioneers quit the Oregon Trail, which there turned north, and began the last leg 
of their journey. The Mormons followed Hastings Cutoff, a barely visible track through the 
Rockies made by the Reed-Donner party of 1846, many of whom later perished in the 
Sierra Nevada snows. Even with the trailblazing done by the Reed-Donner group, it took 
the pioneers sixteen days and ten camps to traverse the 116 miles between Fort Bridger and 
the Salt Lake Valley. 

Their second day out of Fort Bridger, the pioneers met a third mountain man. Miles 
Goodyear, who owned a trading post at the mouth of the Weber River, near what is now 
Ogden, Utah, about 38 miles north of where Young was to locate that summer. They also 
passed a pure-water spring, a sulfur spring, and an oil spring (see Historic Site 59). Then 
they entered the beginning of a 90-mile-long natural highway, a chain of defiles, which 
meandered through the forbidding Wasatch Range of the Rockies into the valley, as if an 
ancient Titan had dragged a stick through the area. The first part of the final stretch came 
to be called Echo Canyon. (See Appendix D, Illustrations 32 and 33.) 

By noon on July 12th, they had made midday camp along Coyote Creek, about 1 mile east 
of a prominent and strange formation of conglomerate rocks called the Needles, or Pudding 
Rocks (see Historic Site 60), and about Wi miles east of what is now the Wyoming-Utah 
border. Here Young was suddenly stricken with tick fever. He remained ill for nearly two 
weeks, during which time Kimball took over the direction of the camp. In the hope that 

'' Kimball, Heber C. Kimball, 166. 



Young would be well enough to travel the next day, Kimball and a few others remained at 
the Coyote Creek camp and sent Orson Pratt and the main company on. On July 13th, it 
was obvious that Young was worse, not better, so Kimball rode 6V4 miles ahead to the main 
camp near the well-known rendezvous site called Cache Cave (REC, see Historic Site 61 
and Appendix D, Illustration 31) and suggested that Pratt drive on to "hunt out and 
improve a road." ^^ 

For the rest of the journey, the pioneers split into three groups-Pratt's vanguard, the main 
portion following, and a rear guard, which stayed with Young and Kimball. Pratt's company 
sighted the Valley on July 19th and scouted it on the 21st. On the 22nd at about 5:30 P.M., 
the main company arrived in the valley via what came to be called Emigration Canyon. 
Early the next morning the group moved about 2 miles northwest and made camp on the 
south fork of what became known as City Creek. There they dammed up the water and 
began plowing, planting potatoes, and irrigating. 

Meanwhile, back on Coyote Creek, Kimball and a few others went to the top of the 
Needles and offered up prayers for the sick, and on July 15th, Young was well enough to 
travel in Wilford Woodruff's carriage, (See Appendix C, Biographical Sketch 11 and 
Appendix D, Illustration 34.) Shortly thereafter they crossed the Hogsback (see Historic 
Site 63) at the summit of Main Canyon (west of present Henefer) and caught the traveler's 
traditional first view of the continent's backbone, the Wasatch Range of the Rocky 
Mountain cordillera-disheartening assurance that the worst of the mountain passes still lay 
ahead. On the morning of July 23rd, the Young-Kimball detachment left Mormon Flat 
(NR, see Historic Site 64) on East Canyon Creek and began the final section of the 
trail-up Little Emigration Canyon to Big Mountain Pass (see Historic Site 65). 

As the pioneers crossed the 7,400 foot-high Big Mountain pass, they entered their new 
homeland, the Great Basin-a vast and forbidding area of over 200,000 square miles lying 
generally between the crests of the Sierra Nevada and the Wasatch Mountains, including 
parts of Utah, Nevada, California, Oregon, and Idaho, and inhabited by various tribes of 
Great Basin Indians. (It is a natural basin. What streams and rivers there are, such as the 
Humboldt, Jordan, Provo, and Weber, have no access to the sea. They flow into the Great 
Salt Lake, into sinks, or disappear by evaporation and percolation. The area is spotted with 
unattractive places now named Salt Marsh Lake, Little Salt Lake, Fossil Lake, and the 
Humboldt Sink.) 

Until the Mormons arrived, this region had only been slightly explored and settled by 
Europeans. Imperial Spain, which had claimed it by right of discovery, had done little with 
it for centuries except try to find a trail between Santa Fe, New Mexico and Monterey, 

'' Kimball, Heber C. Kimball, 167. 


The Trail/Divisions and Topography 

California. To this end, they sent out the eighteenth century expeditions of the Fathers 
Escalante and Dominguez and eventually the Old Spanish Trail was worked out.^° 

England and France had never even fought for it. The Mexicans, who took it from Spain 
in 1821, generally considered it a worthless waste separating more desirable lands. Prior 
to the advent of the Mormons some Anglos had visited and explored the area. They 
included mountain men, California-bound emigrants. Captain John C. Fremont of the 
United States Topographical Corps, and Miles Goodyear, who in 1846, established a trading 
post on the Weber River near what is now Ogden, Utah.^^ 

For perhaps four billion years the Great Basin had bent all to its inexorable will-adjust or 
perish. In 1847 the Mormons, however, decided to make the Great Basin their home, and 
they did it on ancient principles worked out in Mesopotamia and among some Native 
Americans in South America and in the American southwest-centralized organization, 
division of labor, and a chain of command, all on an agricultural basis with controlled 
irrigation at its heart. 

This author believes that Young made his famous statement "This is the place, drive on." 
on the Big Mountain summit rather than over the mountains near what is now Salt Lake 
City, where the "This is the Place Monument" has been placed. This minority view is based 
on Young's pioneer journal of July 23, 1847, where it is recorded, "I ascended and crossed 
over the Big Mountain, when on its summit I directed Elder Woodruff, who had kindly 
tendered me the use of his carriage, to turn the same half way round so that I could have 
a view of a portion of Salt Lake Valley. The spirit of light rested upon me and hovered 
over the valley, and I felt that there the Saints would find protection and safety.'^° Then the 
Young-Kimball party rough-locked their rear wheels with chains and attached drag shoes 
(wagon brakes were not then in general use), slid down Big Mountain, and a few hours 
later ascended Little Mountain (see Historic Sites 65 and 66). At 5:00 that afternoon, 
suffering much from heat and dust, they were in Emigration Canyon, at Last Camp.^^ 

The next day was July 24th-the day acclaimed as the official entrance of Young into the 
valley. July 24, 1847, is the traditional pivot in Mormon history-everything is related to 
and from this date. Brigham Young had finally accomplished what in January 1845, he had 
set out to do. 


LeRoy Hafen, Old Spanish Trail, (Glendale, CA, Arthur H. Clark Co., 1954). 
S. George Ellsworth, Utah's Heritage, (Santa Barbara: Peregrine Smith, Inc., 1972). 
Watson, Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 564. 
'' Ibid. 





In 1880, during Mormondom's fifty-year jubilee, Woodruff enhanced the events of July 24, 
1847, with the following afterthought, probably an embellishment of the passage quoted 
from Young's journal: "President Young was enwrapped in a vision for several minutes. 
He had seen the Valley before in vision, and upon this occasion he saw the future glory of 
Zion and of Israel, as they would be, planted in the valleys of these mountains. When the 
vision had passed, he said: 'It is enough. This is the right place, drive on."^^ Such was the 
origin of the most famous single statement in Mormon history. 

The event is commemorated today by the large granite "This is the Place" monument at the 
mouth of Emigration Canyon (see Historic Site 67) that honors the pioneers and 
pre-Mormon explorers and trappers. Atop a huge shaft thrusting up from the center of the 
base, stand larger-than-life figures of Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, and Wilford 
Woodruff, serenely and eternally contemplating their work. 


Place of revelation or not, the valley was the first site suitable for Kingdom Building that 
the pioneer leaders had seen since Nauvoo. It was vast and isolated and they set about 
earnestly and immediately to tame it. As quickly as possible the pioneers laid out a city, 
planted crops, built homes, a fort, a bowery for worship services, and fences to prepare for 
the approaching winter; the people were organized into wards (congregations). Thirty-five 
days after he arrived. Young was ready to return to Winter Quarters. More than 150 
pioneers, including all the women and children, remained in the valley when Young and 
105 others started their eastward return on August 27th.^^ 

En route, the returning pioneers met 1,553 Saints of the Second Division from Winter 
Quarters heading for the valley. On the evening of October 31st Young and the pioneers 
with him were back in Winter Quarters, where they spent the winter preparing to move 
more than 2,400 emigrants west in 1848. 

The exodus was successful. By 1860 there were about 30,000 people in Utah; by the 
coming of the railroad in 1869, there were more than 80,000 in more than 100 settlements. 
By the time Young died in 1877 he had established some 300 settlements in Utah, Idaho, 
Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, and California.^"* 

^^ Wilford Woodruff's sermon, July 24, 1880, as cited by Preston Nibley, Brigham 
Young, (Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1937), 98-99. 

" Extrapolated from figures given in Roberts, Comprehensive History of the Church, 
vol. 3, 292-293 and 300-301. 

^"^ The best study of this is Milton Hunter, Brigham Young The Colonizer, (Santa 
Barbara: Peregrine Smith, 1973.) 


Chapter 6 


While this historic resource study stresses the work of the pioneers of 1846-1847 it should 
be remembered that up to 70,000 other Mormons made much the same trek through the 
time of the completion of the transcontinental railroad in 1869. This study of trail 
documents reveals that the basic experience (as described above) of all immigrating 
Mormons was similar. A brief account of the post- 1847 Mormon immigration follows. 

This subsequent period of immigration can be conveniently divided into four groups and 
ime periods, with two minor sub-topics. 

Wagon emigrants: 1848-1860 
(canal, lake, and riverboats) 

Handcart emigrants: 1856-1860 

(The Brigham Young Express Company, 1856-1857) 

Church ox team emigrants: 1860-1868 

"Rail and trail" emigrants: 1856-1868 


The main difference between the pioneers of 1846-1847 and subsequent Mormon emigrants 
was that each year the trek became a little easier as a result of experience, established (and 
enforced) discipline, better roads, ferries, bridges, and the ever-increasing number of trail- 
side services like blacksmithing, medical assistance, military installations, trading 
establishments, and the telegraph. 

Another big difference between the early companies of 1847-1848 and subsequent parties 
is that once the trail was well established and trail routine and discipline fixed, the 
leadership of post- 1848 companies was turned over to lower-level leaders and even to 
missionaries returning from their fields of labor. Young and Kimball, for example, never 
led any immigrating companies after 1848. (For details on all pioneer companies that 
crossed the plains during 1847-1868 see Appendix B, Document 6, and for an estimate of 
the number of emigrants by year see Document 5.) 

Still another difference was the use of trail variants such as those developed in southern 
Iowa, or via Mitchell Pass in Nebraska, not crossing the Platte River at Fort Laramie in 



Wyoming, and many Oregon Trail variants. Post-1847 Mormons even used entirely 
different trails. 

Between 1846-1853, Mormons infrequently used the Dragoon Trail between Montrose, 
Iowa, to what is now Des Moines, Iowa. Between 1849-1859 they sometimes traveled the 
Ox-Bow Trail, a variant of the Oregon Trail, which extended from Nebraska City, 
Nebraska, to Fort Kearny on the Platte. Then from 1860 to about 1866, Mormons 
infrequently used the Nebraska City Cutoff Trail, another variant of the Oregon Trail, 
which replaced the older Ox-Bow Trail, from Nebraska City to Fort Kearny. A few 
Mormons, between 1846 and about 1853, also used the little-known-today Trappers' Trail 
between Bent's Fort, in what is now Colorado, on the Arkansas River, to Fort Laramie on 
the North Platte. During the 1850s and 1860s some Mormons also traveled The Overland 
Trail from near what is now Sidney, Nebraska, to Fort Bridger. A major trail variant even 
appeared in Utah. This was the Golden Road, a 42-mile-long variant of the original 
Mormon Trail in Utah. Between 1850 and 1869, many Mormons preferred this variant, 
which left the 1847 trail at the mouth of Emigration Canyon and entered Salt Lake City via 
Parley's Canyon.^ 

Canal Boats, Lake Boats, and Riverboats 

Perhaps one other observation should be made and that is regarding the Mormon use of 
rivers, lakes, and canals in their westward movement. Beginning in 1831 Mormons used 
various canal boats, lake boats, and riverboats to reach their several church headquarters 
in Ohio, Missouri, and Illinois. 

In 1831, the Mormons in western New York and northern Pennsylvania proceeded by way 
of Cayuga Lake steamers, Erie Canal boats, and Lake Erie steamers to Kirtland, Ohio. 
(See Appendix A, Map 1.) And in the 1840s a few other Mormons used the Erie Canal en 
route to Nauvoo, Illinois. This author has found a few journal references from the 1830s 
and 1840s to Mormons traveling other canals like the Pennsylvania State Canal between 
Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, the Ohio and Erie Canal between Cleveland and Portsmouth, 
and the Miami and Erie Canal between Toledo and Cincinnati. References were also 
found to Mormons traveling on Lake Erie. 

While few Mormons used canal and lake boats, thousands traveled on riverboats. Some 
Mormons went to Missouri via the Missouri River, thousands reached Nauvoo on the 
Mississippi River via New Orleans and St. Louis. After the Mormons began departing the 
Far West from various Missouri River locations, most emigrants reached Missouri via Ohio, 
Mississippi, and Missouri riverboats until the railroad reached the Missouri in 1859. 

^ For a full discussion of these and other trails used by the Mormons, see Kimball, 
Historic Sites and Mariners. 


The Handcart Emigrants 1856-1860 

According to contemporary Mormon journal accounts of riverboat travel, Mormon 
emigrants experienced not only "enchantingly beautiful scenery," kind "colored waiters," 
and their own preaching, but also snags, cholera, accidents, death (most riverboats carried 
extra coffins for those who died aboard), miscarriages, explosions (many, for example, died 
in the Saluda disaster near Lexington, Missouri, on the Missouri River in 1852), and what 
they took to be "anti-Mormon" sentiments. A few emigrants could afford cabin class 
passage, but most, unfortunately, traveled in steerage--on the crowded lower decks with 
the animals and baggage (including an occasional occupied coffin), and few amenities. 
Sometimes passengers, including at least two Mormon children, fell overboard and were 


A major change in the pattern of Mormon immigration took place in 1856 in Iowa City, 
Iowa, with the development of a remarkable travel experiment in the history of the 
west--the handcart experience.^ In 1854 the Chicago and Rock Island Railroad (C&RI) 
reached the Mississippi River at Rock Island, Illinois; two years later the railroad bridged 
(or should one say trestled?) the Mississippi and connected with the Missouri and 
Mississippi Railroad that ran to Iowa City. Thereafter, through 1858, most European 
Mormon emigrants took various railroads from Atlantic ports, connecting with the C&RI, 
directly to Iowa City, which became the main point of departure for the Rocky Mountains. 
(Beginning in 1859 most handcart pioneers took the Hannibal and St. Joseph railroad to 
St. Joseph, Missouri, thence by riverboat to Florence [now North Omaha], Nebraska.) 

Brigham Young, safely settled in Utah since 1847, had also decided to try this supposedly 
faster, easier, cheaper, and certainly more unusual way to bring thousands of European 
converts to Salt Lake City. While the Mormons were not the first to use some kind of carts 
going west (some gold-rushers, for example, had experimented with wheelbarrows and some 
who had moved into trans- Appalachia after the War of 1812 used handcarts),^ they were 
the first and only group to use them extensively, certainly the first to transport entire 
emigrant companies with them."* 

The Mormon open carts varied in size and were modeled after carts used by street 
sweepers; they were made almost entirely out of wood. They were generally six or seven 
feet long, the width of a wide track wagon, and carried about 500 pounds of flour, bedding. 

^ See LeRoy R. and Ann W. Hafen, Handcarts to Zion, 1856-1860 (Glendale, CA: 
Arthur H. Clark Co., 1960, and Kimball, Historic Sites and Markers. 

^ Ray Allen Billington, VJestward Expansion, U^: Macmillan Co., 1982, 294. 

'* This study will present in detail only the Iowa segment of the Handcart Trail, because 
west of Iowa, the handcarters followed the Mormon Trail of 1847 and their experiences 
were much the same as other emigrating Mormons. 



extra clothing, cooking utensils, and a tent. The carts could be pushed or pulled by hand. 
Some were painted with mottos and inscriptions like "Truth Will Prevail," "Merry 
Mormons," and "Zion's Express." Most companies also had a few ox-drawn wagons to carry 
extra supplies.^ (See Appendix D, Illustration 35.) These Mormons, mainly from England, 
Wales, and Scandinavia, landed in New York, Boston, and Philadelphia, and traveled by 
train via Chicago to Iowa City, Iowa. 

Train travel was easier than travel by wagon, but it was far from luxurious. Trains averaged 
20 miles an hour and had no sleeping accommodations or dining cars. Smoke and soot 
were everywhere, sanitation facilities were primitive, and schedules were erratic. Travelers 
had to provide their own food or pick it up en route. Many spent nights sitting up or in 
warehouses or barns. Some Mormons felt they were singled out for rude treatment by 
railway officials. Passenger cars sometimes caught fire or derailed. Some women gave 
birth en route. But on the emigrants came. (During the Civil War, because of wartime 
demands, rail travel became even more difficult and uncomfortable. Mormons often had 
to travel in cattle cars./ Handcart emigrants crossed the Iowa River and went to the 
staging area that had been located on the banks of Clear Creek, 3 miles west of Iowa City, 
at a small settlement known as Clark's Mills, now called Coralville. 

This famous experiment involved 2,962 people in 10 companies from 1856 through 1860, 
but only the first 7 companies, or 2,071 Saints (70 percent of the total), trod Iowa soil.^ 
The handcart company of 1859 entrained at New York City and reached St. Joseph, 
Missouri, on the Hannibal and St. Joseph Railroad, where they took a Missouri River 
riverboat to Florence, Nebraska. The C&RI reached Council Bluffs in 1860 and handcart 
companies of that year (the last year of the handcart experiment) were able to ride the 
C&RI all the way to Council Bluffs. With the exception of the fourth and fifth companies 
of 1856, the famous Martin and Willie companies, which started too late in the year and 
were trapped in Wyoming snows, the system was a success. 

The first 7 companies made the 275-mile trip across Iowa from Iowa City, Iowa, to 
Florence, Nebraska, in from 21 to 39 days, averaging 25 days and 11 miles a day. (See 
Appendix A, Map 10.) The first company of 226 persons started out on June 9, 1856, led 
by the Birmingham Brass Band from England, and arrived in Utah September 26th. March 
music and singing kept the people together and helped ward off tedium and fatigue. The 
most popular of all songs was the famous "Handcart Song": 

Hafen and Hafen, Handcarts to lion, passim. 

^ Kimball, "The LDS Use of Railroads," unpublished paper based on original emigrant 

^ Hafen and Hafen, Handcarts to Zion, 193. 


The Handcart Emigrants 1856-1860 

Some must push and some must pull 
As we go marching up the hill, 
As merrily on the way we go 
Until we reach the valley, oh! 

In Coralville, Iowa, the Daughters of the American Revolution have erected a bronzed 
tablet commemorating the handcart companies. It is located on the south side of the road 
just west of the intersection of Fifth Street and Tenth Avenue. Also in Coralville and the 
western part of Iowa City is the Mormon Trek Boulevard, a modern highway honoring 
these pioneers. 

In 1976, in connection with the U.S. Bicentennial Celebration, a several-acre Mormon 
Handcart Park was developed in Coralville on ground owned by the University of Iowa, 
through funds provided by the Mormon Church. The site is near Clear Creek and U.S. 
6, near the Hawkeye Court housing complex to the west of Mormon Trek Boulevard. 
There are three markers at this site having extensive text commemorating a pioneer 
campsite, pioneer burial ground, and the whole site in general. 

Although the handcart pioneers did not know it before starting, Iowa roads were to be 
veritable "super highways" compared to what lay west of the Missouri. Like all Mormon 
pioneers before and after them, they used the best, most convenient roads and trails. Since 
at least 1846, when Brigham Young led the Saints across Iowa, there had been some kind 
of a road between Iowa City and Council Bluffs. In the beginning it had been a military 
road to Fort Des Moines, and later a territorial, state, mail, and coach route. Most of the 
handcart pioneer journals of 1856-1857 refer often to the good roads. In fact, had the 
Saints not been so poor, they could have ridden over the roads by stagecoach to the 
Missouri for about eleven dollars a person. 

Today's Highway 6 generally follows this old trans-Iowa road as far as Redfield. From 
Coralville the pioneers passed through Homestead and South Amana, two German colonies 
established in 1854. (This part of Highway 6 up to Grinnell is also marked as the 
Hiawatha Pioneer Trail.) Passing through Marengo, Brooklyn, Grinnell, Newton, and 
Rising Sun, they reached Fort Des Moines. The old fort on the west bank of the Des 
Moines River was by then abandoned, but still standing. Near the intersection of Riverside 
Drive and Southwest First Street in Des Moines is a granite marker commemorating this 
old fort and part of the newly restored fort. 

West of Des Moines, the Mormons proceeded via Adel to Redfield. West of Redfield, the 
old trail is only approximated by today's roads. From Redfield the pioneers went to Bear 
Grove. Merely a wide spot in the road today. Bear Grove was then an important coach 
stop and a place where the pioneers obtained necessary supplies. (It is in Guthrie County, 
in section 18, T79N, R32W.) 

From Bear Grove the Saints traveled the old military, or Dragoon Road, now largely 
nonexistent, to what is now Lewis, where they intersected the pioneer trail of 1846 and 



followed it directly to Council Bluffs. There, crossing the Missouri by ferry, they arrived 
at the new staging ground in Florence, Nebraska, and made final preparations to go to the 
Salt Lake Valley. 

In the Lewis, Iowa, town park, there are two markers commemorating the Mormon Trail. 
One is a section of a telephone pole with "Mormon Trail" carved into it; a few yards away 
is a handsome bronze marker that was placed by the Daughters of the American 
Revolution in 1917. (See Historic Site 12.) 

In the Trans-Missouri west, the handcarters followed the established Mormon Trail into 
their new Zion and, as previously noted, most of these companies made it safely there.^ 
Across Nebraska all the of the handcart companies made the journey successfully. Their 
route and general experiences were much like other westering Mormons. They did move 
faster and, of course, suffered less from accidents occasioned by draft animals, heavy 
wagons, and stampedes. Costs were reduced by about one-third. Handcarters were able 
to transport less food, far few belongings, and of course, could neither ride in the carts nor 
sleep in them. Handcart companies also seemed to have a higher percentage of European 
emigrants; one company was largely Welsh, one Scandinavian, and in one, nine different 
languages were spoken. And most also made it successfully across Wyoming. 

The joy of the success of this new, faster, and cheaper way of immigrating soon turned to 
sorrow with the tragic experience of the Willie and Martin companies, the 4th and 5th 
companies of 1856. When they arrived on the Missouri River, they found their carts were 
not yet prepared. Some wisely thought they should postpone the crossing of the plains that 
year, but such wisdom was decried by others as evidence of a weak faith. So, after a delay 
and with some carts made of green wood, the two companies headed west. 

After reaching what is now Wyoming, they were caught in an early snowstorm. Among the 
Martin company of 576, a total of 145 (about 25 percent) died of exposure across Wyoming, 
as many as thirteen a night. Most could not be buried because the ground was so frozen. 
This company reached what has become known as Martin's Cove (see Historic Site 47) 
about November 3rd. It was 2 miles west of Devil's Gate. On the 6th, the temperature 
dropped to eleven degrees below zero. It was here a rescue party from Utah finally 
reached this company. Across Wyoming the Willie's company lost 77 persons (about 19 
percent) out of 404. They managed to push on to a camp on Rock Creek (see Historic Site 
51) where they awaited rescue, a rescue that came near the end of October. 

The handcart experiment continued in 1857, and worked well until it ended in 1860. In 
1857, for example, an attempt was made across Nebraska to establish supply stations for 
the benefit of handcarters. This effort had just gotten under way when the cancellation of 
a government contract ended it. Thereafter, the handcart companies replenished their 
suppHes as best they could, bartering with the Indians, killing what animals they could, 

° See Hafen and Hafen, Handcarts to Zion. 


The Handcart Emigrants 1856-1860 

sometimes receiving supplies sent out from Salt Lake City, and buying what they needed 
from the ever-growing number of supply stations, forts, and trading posts along the trail. 

The handcart company of 1859 experienced what this author considers the most bizarre 
trail experience of the entire Mormon immigration. Near Devil's Gate, in what is now 
Wyoming, the Mormons met a group of Indians who had just won a battle with another 
tribe. "The victorious tribe were [Sic] parading around with scalps suspended on sticks 
which they held high in the air. They had a number of prisoners. They invited a number 
of us boys to go to their camp that night to witness them torture to death their prisoners. 
However, we respectfully declined." ^ 

In summary, about 3,000 emigrants in 10 companies were transported west between 1856 
and 1860, in 653 carts and 50 supply wagons. Generally, they traveled successfully, and 
cheaper and faster than wagon trains. The handcart era ended after 1860, when the 
Mormons switched to large church ox-team trains sent out from Salt Lake City to haul 
emigrants and freight west from the Missouri and other points. (This change is detailed 
below under "Church Team Emigrants, 1860-1868.") 

The Brigham Young Express Company 1856-1857 

There is one more dimension to the Mormon Trail which, while it pertains little to 
immigration, deserves mention in this study. This is the short-lived Brigham Young Express 
and Carrying Company (popularly known as the Y.X. Company) of 1856-1857. It has a 
place in this study because the route of the company generally was the Mormon Trail of 

In 1856 the Mormon Church bid for and received a four-year contract for monthly mail 
service between Independence, Missouri, and Salt Lake City. Wagons, animals, feed, 
stations, and men were quickly lined up, and mail service commenced February 8, 1857. 
Soon the church was preparing to carry freight as well. The first permanent stations or 
settlements were set up at Genoa (see Historic site 24), about 100 miles west of Omaha, 
and on Deer Creek (just west of Deer Creek in what is now Glenrock, Wyoming). Other 
stations were begun at the Horseshoe Creek stage station (2 miles due south of what is now 
Glendo, Wyoming, NWy4 of SW1/4, Sec. 21, T29N, R68W), at La Bonte Creek (La Bonte 
Stage Stop 10 miles south of Douglas, Wyoming, at NE1/4, SW1/4, Sec. 33, T31N, R71W), 
Devil's Gate (near the Gate, just south of the Sweetwater River and abandoned Wyoming 
Highway 220, [see Historic Site 46], and at Rocky Ridge [Sees. 21, 27, and 35,'T29N, 
R97W], a very remote and difficult place to visit today). The Mormons also made use of 

"Journal History of the Church," Mormon Church Archives. 

'° This information comes from Arrington, Great Basin Kingdom, 162-169, Russell R. 
Rich, Ensign to ttie Nations, (Provo: Brigham Young University Press, 1979), 208-217, 
and original maps in the Mormon Church Archives. 



Other existing stations at Fort Laramie (see Historic Site 33), Sweet Water (known today 
as Burnt Ranch, just south of the Sweetwater River, in NWVi, SEV4, Sec. 26, T28N, 
RIOOW), and Fort Bridger (see Historic Site 58). The proposed sites at Horse Shoe Creek, 
La Bonte Creek, Deer Creek, Devil's Gate, and Sweetwater River were surveyed into 640- 
acre or one square-mile rectangles- 160 rods by 640 rods, or 2 miles by yz-mile sections. 

The main objective was eventually to have stations every 50 miles-the daily distance 
attainable by mule teams. Such stations would also be aids to Mormon emigrants by 
stocking and providing grain and other basic supplies, where hay and other crops could be 
raised. Then suddenly the contract was canceled because of the political influence of rival 
mail contractors and all the Mormon mail and freight stations were closed for good. 


In 1860 Mormon leaders abandoned the handcart experiment in favor of the church 
ox-team method.^^ This was done for two reasons: the discovery that loaded ox teams 
could be sent from Utah to the Missouri, pick up emigrants (and merchandise), and return 
to Utah in one season, and for better use of the church's own resources, that is to save 
money. Furthermore, although cheaper and somewhat faster, the handcart system was 
never popular. In the few instances where emigrants had a choice between handcarts and 
wagon trains, most chose the latter. 

By means of these "down and back" trips, the Mormons could export their own flour, beans, 
and bacon to supply the emigrants, and use the cash saved to buy and freight back needed 
supplies not available in Utah. Furthermore emigrants could be saved the expense and 
trouble of obtaining their own wagons or carts and draft animals to take them west. 

The 2,200-mile round trip could be made in approximately six months. Church leaders 
arranged for the men, equipment, and supplies, and organized the trains into groups of 
about fifty each. The captain of each company was given complete authority to get the job 

All the men involved were regarded as "missionaries," and were given credit on the tithing 
books for the value of service rendered-they were in effect paying their 10 percent church 
tithing "in kind." There was one other fringe benefit-bachelors often found brides among 
the emigrants-had first pick, so to speak. Happily, romance flourished throughout the 
entire Mormon immigration period. 

Each wagon was pulled by four yoke of oxen or mules and carried about 1,000 pounds of 
supplies. The teams were expected to reach the Missouri River at Florence (old Winter 


This experiment is described in Leonard Arrington, Great Basin Kingdom, 205- 
21 1 , and John K. Hulmston, "Mormon Immigration in the 1860s: The Story of the Church 
Trains," Utah Historical Quarterly, 58, (Winter 1990) 32-48. 


Church Team Emigrants, 1860-1868 

Quarters or modern North Omaha), in July and return with ten to twenty emigrants per 
wagon and all the freight they could load. (Later the jumping-off place moved to a now 
forgotten community with the strange name of Wyoming, Nebraska Territory,^ ^ and finally 
to Laramie and Benton, in the state of Wyoming.) 

This system lasted for the period 1860-1868, and required about 2,000 wagons 2,500 
teamsters, 17,550 oxen and brought approximately 20,500 emigrants to Utah.^^ The first 
three years, the jumping-off place was Florence, Nebraska Territory. In 1864, however, the 
Mormons switched to the community of Wyoming, Nebraska, where they followed the (little 
known today) Nebraska City Cutoff Trail.^"^ (See Appendix A, Map 11.) 

The principal reasons for the Mormons' switch from Florence to Wyoming seems to have 
been because emigrants from the east could take trains directly to St. Joseph, Missouri, 
then take an approximately 94-mile riverboat ride to the community of Wyoming, and then 
the cutoff trail shortened the distance from the Missouri River to the area of Fort Kearny, 
by about 50 miles. The cutoff ran 169 miles directly west to Fort Kearny on the Oregon 
Trail, where the Mormons could either continue on the Oregon Trail or cross the Platte 
River and pick up the MPNHT. 

The community of Wyoming, founded as a river port in 1855, was 45 miles south of 
Florence and 7 miles north of Nebraska City. The Mormons favored it over Florence 
because it provided more open area for their staging ground and was well removed from 
the rough elements of Nebraska City and other lures that might have caused emigrants to 
not go west.^^ 

Twenty-two organized Mormon emigrant companies (see Appendix B, Document 6) left 
Wyoming during its three-year service (1864-1866). It is estimated that the companies 
totaled about 6,500 emigrants. In addition, probably some 500 or more Mormons traveled 
as individuals with non-Mormon trains from nearby Nebraska City.^^ 

Of all the early Mormon emigrant trails, one of the least known today among Mormons is 
the Nebraska City Cutoff Trail. There are about ten historic markers along this old trail, 
but none refer to the Mormons. No church teams were sent east in 1867, largely because 





The toponym Wyoming is Indian and originated in Pennsylvania. 

Arrington, Great Basin Kingdom, 298. 
^^ See Kimball, Historic Sites and Marl<ers. 
'' Ibid., 143. 

Kimball, Discovering Mormon Trails, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1979, 



the Union Pacific railroad reached North Platte, Nebraska, that year and immigrating plans 
were in flux. 

In 1868, when church teams were again sent east, they were dispatched to the Union Pacific 
railhead at Laramie, Wyoming, during July and August and to the Benton, Wyoming, 
railhead during August and September, and picked up a total of ten emigrant companies. 
That year was the last year of the wagon, handcart, or church team Mormon emigrant. The 
transcontinental railroad reached Utah May 10, 1869, and from that time on emigrants 
could ride the rails all the way to Zion. From these two railheads, at Laramie and Benton, 
Mormon emigrants would have picked up the Overland-Bridger Pass Trail, followed it to 
Fort Bridger and then taken the Mormon Trail into Utah.^^ 


Prior to the 1850s, Mormon emigrants seldom used railroads. There is one account of rail 
travel in 1837, and a few traveled to Nauvoo, Illinois, by rail in the 1840s. But it was not 
until 1856 that the use of railroads by Mormons became common.^® 

As has already been noted in the discussion of the handcart companies. Mormon emigrants 
made little use of railroads until the Chicago and Rock Island RR reached the Mississippi 
River at Rock Island, Illinois, in 1854, whence it was possible to continue west by riverboats 
to various jumping-off sites, such as Fort Leavenworth, on the Missouri River. When the 
railroad went from Rock Island, Illinois, to Iowa City, Iowa, in 1856, many Mormon 
emigrants, especially the handcart pioneers, "took cars" to that terminal. 

Another big rise in the use of rail travel was when the Hannibal and St. Joseph RR 
reached St. Joseph, Missouri, on the Missouri River in 1859, whence emigrants generally 
took riverboats to the Council Bluffs-Florence area and proceeded west. (The handcart 
company of 1859 did this, the first Mormons to do so.) 

Thereafter, until 1867 when the Mormons were able to ride the Union Pacific RR to North 
Platte, Nebraska, this was the most popular manner for Mormon emigrants to reach the 
Missouri River and points of departure for the Far West. During the Civil War years of 
1861-1865, emigrant travel by rail was difficult, especially in Missouri, where pro- and anti- 
Union forces in that state often clashed: timetables were erratic, routes were interrupted, 
impeded, and changed. Trail travel was dangerous. Bridges were blown up or burned and 
track torn up or blockaded. Sometimes the trains were fired on, boarded and derailed by 

^^ See the "Rail and Trail Pioneers" section of this chapter immediately below, and 
Kimball, Historic Sites and Markers, 154-159. 

^° Most of this discussion is based on the author's study of Mormon Trail accounts in 
the Mormon Church archives. 


Rail and Trail Pioneers: 1867-1868 

military units. Rail travel, at least the accommodations most Mormon emigrants could 
afford, hadn't improved much over the conditions of the 1850s. Passenger cars often had 
no springs, benches had no backs, sometimes emigrants rode in cattle cars full of lice and 
dirt. Food and water had to be carried or purchased in route. 

Mormons also used other railroads to go west. After 1859 when the North Missouri RR, 
out of St. Charles, Missouri, intersected with the Hannibal and St. Joseph RR, it was 
possible for Mormons to take the Chicago and Alton RR to Alton, Illinois, and St. Louis, 
thence to St. Joseph. Some Mormons picked up the Hannibal and St. Joseph RR via the 
Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy RR (which reached the Mississippi River in 1855). In 
1867 some Mormons reached Council Bluffs, Iowa, via the Chicago and Northwestern RR. 

After the Civil War, the Union Pacific RR began moving west from Omaha, Nebraska, on 
July 10, 1865. The following year, the Mormons abandoned the rail terminal at St. Joseph 
and the connecting Nebraska City Cutoff and, sequentially, took trains to four Union Pacific 
railheads: North Platte, Nebraska, and Julesburg, Colorado, in 1867, and Laramie and 
Benton, Wyoming, in 1868. (See Appendix B, Document 6 and Appendix A, Map 12.) 
Here the emigrants were met by church trains from Salt Lake. 

Because the Union Pacific RR, moving west from Omaha, Nebraska, was in a race with the 
Central Pacific RR, moving east from Sacramento, California, male emigrants were 
sometimes offered reduced or free tickets if they would work on the road bed.^^ 

Each of the railheads became a wide-open, rip-roaring town, which greatly concerned 
Mormon leaders. The first three are still prospering, but Benton is distinctive for having 
become the first ghost town in Wyoming, lasting only from July through September 1868. 
It was located on the eastern edge of the Red Desert, 11 miles east of what is now Rawlins, 
near the North Platte River. (The curious can find the exact location of Benton by looking 
for Union Pacific milepost number 672.1, indicating precisely how far one is west of Omaha, 
off old Highway 30.) Church wagons transported the emigrants to Utah from each of the 
three remaining railheads. 

In 1867, about 500 emigrants took the train to North Platte right on the Mormon Trail, 
thence to Utah via that trail. In 1868, five companies totaling about 1,850 pioneers left 
Laramie during July and August in wagons sent by the church. From Laramie the only 
reasonable route west would have been via the Overland-Bridger Pass Trail (see Appendix 
A, Map 12) to Fort Bridger, to pick up the Mormon Trail there. Also in 1868, about 2,000 
pioneers in five companies left Benton during August and September. From Benton, 
Mormon emigrants could have gone about 50 miles north and picked up the Mormon Trail, 
but most went a few miles south and took the Overland-Bridger Pass Trail to Fort Bridger, 
to intersect the main route. (A few Mormons appear to have jumped off at Julesburg.) 


Stanley B. Kimball, "The LDS and the Railroads." Unpublished paper. 



After the Union Pacific RR reached Utah in 1869, emigrants took rails all the way from 
the east coast. The great trek was over and the Mormon Trail began to slowly disappear 
and fade from memory. 


In the 1930s, in connection with the centennial of the Mormon Church, a movement started 
to better locate, preserve, and mark the old trail. One of the first organizations to do so 
was the Utah Pioneer and Landmarks Association. The Daughters of Utah Pioneers and 
the Sons of Utah Pioneers have also erected hundreds of trail markers. The Mormon 
Pioneer Trail Foundation does much research on the old trail. And several federal 
agencies, including the National Park Service and Bureau of Land Management, state, and 
local organizations and individuals have done much to locate, foster, preserve, and mark 
the trail. The Historic Sites Committee of the Mormon Church works to the same end. 


Readers of this work are referred to the bibliography in this study for a guide to further 
research. Despite the extensive Uterature on the Mormon Trail, much research needs to 
be done. Generally speaking, we need to know more about every aspect of the Mormon 
immigration that is treated in this study. To begin with, there are hundreds of existing trail 
accounts that need further analysis, and new ones are found frequently. For more than 
twenty-five years, this author has studied trails used by the Mormons and yet, there is much 
to be done, especially regarding trail variants and feeder trails. We know little of the 
Mormon use of some Oregon Trail variants from Independence, Westport, Weston, St. 
Joseph, Fort Leavenworth, Nebraska City, Plattsmouth, Bellevue, or a variant north of the 
Platte River at Fort Laramie, or the Seminoe and Blacks Fork cutoffs. We know little of 
the Mormon use of feeder trails like the Santa Fe, Trappers' and Cherokee. We need to 
know much more about Mormon sea voyages, and their use of canals, lakes, and rivers. 
We have just touched the surface of their westering by rail experiences, and we need to 
know much more of their use of various stage routes and federal wagon roads. 

Much is waiting to be done regarding the Mormons and the military, the telegraph, the 
eastbound use of the trail, and "go backs," or disgruntled Mormons who left Utah and 
returned east. We have only begun to study such social questions of trail values, norms, 
sanctions, courts, entertainment, single emigrants, the questions of privacy, sanitation, and 
intimate relations, exceptional behavior, crisis events. Blacks and other minorities, children, 
sex roles, and the division of labor. 


Chapter 7 


The following is a list of sixty-seven historic sites along the Mormon Pioneer National 
Historic Trail from Nauvoo, Illinois, to Salt Lake City, Utah. Many of these sites are also 
referenced in the narrative part of this study (with cross-referencing to this chapter).^ 
Thirteen are already on the National Register, indicated here by the letters NR, followed 
by the date the site was added to the National Register and its reference number. Twelve 
sites (indicated by the letters REC) are recommended for nomination to the National 
Register through this historic resource study. 

These recommendations have been made in accordance with the guidelines detailed in The 
National Register Bulletin No. 16 National Park Service, 1986. 

The general guidelines state that the sites must possess "integrity of location, setting.. .feeling 
and association, and [must be] associated with events that have made a significant 
contribution to the broad patterns of history" and that "are associated with the lives of 
persons significant in our past...." ^ 

The sites herein nominated, furthermore, fit the proper "function and use" categories of the 
guidelines-namely funerary, landscape, and transportation.^ 

Such are the general requirements. The more specific qualifications met by each 
recommended site will be detailed below. 

In Iowa, Nebraska, and Utah, MPNHT trail ruts are so rare that all vestiges of them known 
to the author are presented in this study. This is not the case in Wyoming, where there are 
miles of Mormon-Oregon-California trail ruts. For Wyoming, only selected ruts are 

^ For more information about these historic sites and, especially for the many historic 
markers along the trail not here presented, see Kimball, Historic Sites and Markers. 

^ National Register Bulletin No. 16, 1 
' Ibid., 49-53. 

"* For a detailed account of trail ruts in Wyoming, see Gregory M. Franzwa, Maps of 
the Oregon Trail, (Gerald, MO: The Patrice Press, 1982). 



NOTE: In the following account of historic sites all quotations following the words "The 
text is..." are taken from official historic markers at those historic sites. Also in this chapter 
a few abbreviations are used: sec. for section, T for Township, R for Range, and N, S, E, 
and W for the points of the compass. County maps issued by the respective states are 
necessary to locate sites according to these section, Township, and Range designations. 



This site and monument is at the foot of Parley Street in Nauvoo and marks the 
approximate site where the Mormons crossed the river into Iowa. 

The text on this Mormon Church marker is: 

EXODUS TO GREATNESS. Near here, the Mormon exodus to the Rocky 
Mountains began on February 4, 1846.... Fleeing enemies, these refugees crossed the 
Mississippi River with their wagons on flatboats, except for a few days when they 
crossed on ice.... 

Seeking freedom to worship God as they believed, more than 50,000 Mormon 
pioneers, mostly with ox-drawn wagons or handcarts, crossed the plains to the Rocky 
Mountains before the completion of the transcontinental railroad May 10, 1869. 



The Mormon Trail of 1846 in Iowa proper begins in what is now River Front Park in 
Montrose. This was the site of the first Fort Des Moines (1834-1837). The site of the old 
fort, now contained in this park, is located at the eastern end of Main Street and is marked 
by a bronze plaque set into a boulder at the south end of the little park. 


The site is 7 miles west of Montrose on road J-72, in sees. 11 and 14, T66N, R6W, Lee 

This was the staging ground, where in February 1846, the Mormons organized themselves 
for their trek across Iowa. There is no marker here. 




On March 5, 1846, the pioneers forded the Des Moines River at Bonaparte, Iowa. This 
fact was recently commemorated by a sign on the Bonaparte side of the bridge over the 
river on Highway 79. 

The text on this county sign is: 

Brigham Young and band of Mormons crossed the Des Moines River here 
March 5, 1846 on their trek to Utah. 


This is about 6 miles west on road J-40 from the western exit of Lacey-Keosauqua State 
Park, Van Buren County, in sec. 32, T69N, RUW. Here the Mormons lightened their loads 
by caching some ordnance. 

There is no marker here, but in 1985 two Mormon graves were found and marked by 
relatives. These graves are in the NE V4 of sec. 32, but one must ask locally for directions 
and secure permission to visit them. 


This site is in Wayne County, in sec. 4, T67N, R20W. 

Here in April 1846, William Clayton wrote the words to the most famous of all Mormon 
hymns, "Come, Come, Ye Saints." A marker commemorating this event was erected here 
July 1990 and is located at the entrance of Tharp Cemetery. 

The text on this Mormon Church and Wayne County marker is: 

The Hymn That Went Around the World: "Come, Come, Ye Saints" was the great 
hymn of the Mormon immigration. It was composed near here April 15, 1846, by 
William Clayton, clerk of the first group of Latter-day Saints to leave Nauvoo, 

First known as "All Is Well," this is the best known of all Mormon hymns. It buoyed 
up thousands of pioneers on their way west. Through translations it has come to 
be recognized all over the world. 

William Clayton (1814-79) was a convert to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day 
Saints in 1837, among the earliest in England. ..the hymn was set to the music of a 
popular English folk tune, "All Is Well." 



At the time the hymn was written, the pioneer camp was located along the ridge 
west of Tharp Cemetery. This ridge divides two branches of Locust Creek. 

Erected by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Wayne County 
Historical Society. July 1990. 

Near here in a pasture in the NE Vi of section 4 are faint ruts, perhaps dating from 1846. 
The General Land Office survey of 1852 shows that an old trail did go this way. 

There is also an exhibit dedicated to this event in the Wayne County Historical Society 
Museum at Corydon, on Highway 2 about 15 miles northwest of Locust Creek. 


This cemetery not only meets the qualifications of the general guidelines of the National 
Register Bulletin No. 16, but also because of its "association with historic event[s]" and 
because it is "primarily commemorative in intent," and because "age, tradition.. .has invested 
it with its own historical significance." ^ (See Appendix D, Illustration 10.) 

In the town park of the small community of Garden Grove, Decatur County, is a small 
marker commemorating the fact that the pioneers founded Garden Grove in 1846 and built 
a permanent camp for the benefit of those who would follow. 

The text on this community marker is: 

Dedicated 1956 in memory of the Mormons who founded Garden Grove, Iowa in 
1847 [sic 1846]. 

One mile straight west of this marker on a county road is a small, three-acre trailside 
historic park maintained by the Decatur County Conservation Board. Just to the north of 
an A-frame picnic shelter is a fenced plot enclosing a metal marker on a sandstone slab 
commemorating "The Latter-day Saints at Garden Grove" and those who are buried in that 
park. No graves are visible. 

The text on this Mormon Church marker is: 

THE LATTER-DAY SAINTS AT GARDEN GROVE. Early in 1846 thousands of 
members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) left their 
homes in Nauvoo, Illinois bound for the great basin in the Rocky Mountains. 

Moving westward across Iowa, their advance company made camp here April 25, 
1846 calling the site Garden Grove. 

^ National Register Bulletin, 1 



Within two weeks, 359 men under the leadership of President Brigham Young 
cleared 300 acres of land, planted crops, built log houses, and cut 10,000 surplus rails 
for fencing and enough logs to build 40 additional houses. 

Garden Grove thus became a stopover for many emigrants that followed later. 
Death overtook some, however. They were buried here. Refreshed by their stop 
at this place, the Mormon Pioneers went on to the Rockies where they founded 
cities and towns and made the desert to "Blossom as the Rose." 


This site meets the same NR criteria of site 7. 

This site is near Thayer, Union County, in sec. 8, T72N, R28W. (See Appendix D, 
Illustration 11.) 

Like Garden Grove, it was a permanent camp on the trail for the benefit of the Mormons 
who followed the pioneers west. There is little left today of the old campsite, which today 
is a small, 9-acre park with informative signs and historical markers maintained by the 
Union County Conservation Board. In 1928 the Daughters of the American Revolution 
(DAR) also placed a marker here and in 1888, the Mormons erected a monument honoring 
their dead, who rest in the adjacent cemetery. This monument may have been the first 
marker to a historic site erected in Iowa. 

The text of the state of Iowa marker is: 

Mormon pioneers perished here from 1846 to 1852. Having been driven from their 
homes by armed mobs, they stopped here on their westward trek, named it Mt. 
Pisgah after a Biblical mountain range, and established a way-station. Thousands 
of acres were cleared, buildings built, and caves dug for shelter until log cabins were 
constructed, but lack of food and inadequate shelter took their toll. In spite of 
hardships, Mt. Pisgah became a stopping place for an almost endless trail of 
westward-bound Mormon Pioneers until 1852, when the last of the Latter-day Saints 
left and the site was bought by Henry Peters and named Petersville. 

The original community was located on the slope and flat lands east of this spot. 
The cemetery extended down the hill to the west, north, and south beyond the 
railroad tracks. Headstones were long ago removed or destroyed by the elements, 
but the large monument was erected in 1888. 




Two miles east of Bridgewater, Adair County, on a county road is the 160-acre Mormon 
Trail Park and Morman [sic] Lake maintained by the Adair County Conservation 
Commission. This park commemorates the fact that the old Mormon Trail ran about 1 mile 
to the south. 


This site meets the same NR criteria of site 7, and it also fits into the transportation and 
landscape categories of the NR. (See Appendix D, Illustration 12.) 

Some of the very few, if not the only, extant Mormon Trail ruts in Iowa are found near this 
Mormon Trail Park. They are located in sec. 4 of Washington Township, Adair County 
north of County Road G-53, on the property of Mr. Jacob Pote. The deeply eroded ruts, 
on his private pasture ground, run east and west for about one-quarter of a mile, 
commencing approximately one-quarter of a mile west of his home. The author's study of 
the original 1850 General Land Office survey of Iowa shows that the old trail did go this 


On a gravel road 1 mile due south of Lewis, Cass County, is the Cold Spring State Park. 
Near the parking area in the camping part of the park, close to a set of four swings, is a 
National Park Service MPNHT sign. About 100 feet west of this sign is a fence separating 
the park from some fields. Here, extremely dim traces of the old trail can be seen crossing 
the fields. 


About 1 mile west on Minnesota Avenue, in the present community of Lewis, Cass County, 
is the site of an old Indian Town, a Potawatomi settlement on the east bank of the 
Nishnabotna River. The Mormons noted and visited the settlement. This town was the 
junction of the Mormon Trail with a military trail from Raccoon Forks, site of Ft. Des 
Moines II (1837-1846). It was also here that the handcart companies from Des Moines 
intersected the Mormon Trail of 1847. 


One mile west of present Macedonia, Pottawattamie County, on County Road G-66 is Old 
Towne Park, an undeveloped 8-acre park near where some Mormons temporarily settled 
in 1850. The area became known as the Mormon Trail Crossing. There are no signs or 
markers here. 



Kanesville/Council Bluffs Area 

While the Mormons were in the Kanesville/Council Bluffs area for some years, especially 
between 1846 and 1853, and established three ferries and several communities, almost all 
historic sites have given way to urban sprawl and there is very little to see today. (See 
Appendix D, Illustration 13.) 


Near the Iowa School for the Deaf on U.S. Highway 275, close to its junction with Highway 
92, is the general area of the first Mormon camp in the Council Bluffs area. (There is a 
marker here commemorating the Mormon Battalion that fought in the war with Mexico, 


At the north end of Bayliss Park on South Main Street in downtown Council Bluffs, is a 
bronze marker commemorating the Mormon Trail passing through Council Bluffs. 

The text on this community marker is: 

This boulder commemorates the early travel upon the Mormon Trail through 
Kanesville, now Council Bluffs, and is dedicated to the memory of the throngs who 
crossed Iowa in advance of settlements.... 


The Mormons had three main places from which they ferried across the Missouri River into 
Nebraska where they finally set up their Winter Quarters of 1846-1847. Two of these places 
correspond quite closely with where the South Omaha and the Mormon Pioneer Memorial 
bridges are today. (The third site is some 20 miles to the south, near present Plattsmouth, 
Nebraska.) On the Iowa side there are no markers at any of these sites, but the Mormon 
Pioneer Memorial Bridge, the Iowa end of which is located 10 miles north of Bayliss Park 
on Interstate 680, can be considered a memorial. There is a historical marker for this 
bridge, but it is on the Nebraska side. (See Historic Site 17.) 



(For the location and significance of this site see Historic Site 16.) This marker used to be 
on the south side of the entrance ramp to what is now the eastbound lane of the bridge, 
which has been incorporated into Interstate 680. It has since been moved to the grounds 
of the historic old Florence Bank at 8502 North 30th Street. The marker was originally 



erected in 1953 by the Utah Pioneer Trails and Landmarks Association when the original 
span of this bridge was formally dedicated. 

The text is: 

MORMON PIONEER MEMORIAL BRIDGE, This bridge is on the Mormon 
Pioneer Trail from Nauvoo, Illinois, to the Rocky Mountains. Driven from their 
homes by mobs, many of the dispossessed Mormon people crossed the Mississippi 
River on the ice in February 1846.... Winter Quarters were established on the west 
bank of the Missouri River, and a ferry was operated at this site. Six hundred of 
these people-Nebraska's first white settlers-died here that winter.... 

Winter Quarters Area Historic Sites 

Today in the area of old Winter Quarters are several historic sites and markers 
commemorating Cutler's Park, Winter Quarters, the Mormon Cemetery, and the old 
Mormon Mill. There are also streets named Young Street, Mormon Street, and Mormon 
Bridge Road, and a Mormon Visitors' Center, all located in the general area of 30th and 
State streets. 


This site is located on Mormon Bridge Road just north of the entrance to the Forest Lawn 
Cemetery. This short-lived community, selected by Alpheus Cutler, was the Nebraska 
Mormon headquarters in 1846, just prior to the estabhshment of Winter Quarters. It is 
known today as "Nebraska's First City." In 1988 the Mormon Church placed a marker here. 
(See Appendix D, Illustration 14.) 

The text on this Mormon Church marker is: 

CUTLER'S PARK, NEBRASKA'S FIRST CITY. The first city in Nebraska, Cutler's 
Park, was founded here in August 1846 by 2500 members of the Church of Jesus 
Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormon) who were en route to the Rocky Mountains. 
This settlement became the headquarters of the church and extended on both sides 
of the modern-day Mormon Bridge Road. Although comprised of only tents and 
wagons arranged in orderly squares, the short-lived community had a mayor and city 
council, 24 policemen and fireguards, various administrative committees, and a town 
square for public meetings. 

In mid-August the settlers adopted the territory's first Anti-Pollution Ordinance-a 
regulation banning open burning. In September 1846 the camp began moving to 
Winter Quarters, three miles northeast. When the last residents of Cutler's Park 
moved in December, they left behind fenced streets, an improved communal spring, 
and about 800 tons of hay that would help supply the next group of pioneers on their 
journey west the following year. 




In the southern end of the Florence Park at 30th and State streets is a Nebraska Historical 

The text is: 

WINTER QUARTERS. Here in 1846 an oppressed people fleeing from a vengeful 
mob found a haven in the wilderness. Winter Quarters, established under the 
direction of the Mormon leader Brigham Young, sheltered more than 3,000 people 
during the winter of 1846-47. Housed in log cabins, sod houses, dugouts, they lacked 
adequate provisions. When spring arrived more than six hundred of the faithful lay 
buried in the cemetery on the hill. Winter Quarters became the administration 
center of a great religious movement. 

In the spring of 1847 a pioneer band left Winter Quarters to cross the Plains to the 
Great Salt Lake Valley. Thousands of others followed this trail. In 1855, Young 
was forced to utilize handcarts for transportation. The first company, comprising 
about five hundred persons, left here on July 17 and reached the Valley on 
September 26, 1856.... 


This site meets the same NR criteria as detailed in site 7. (See Appendix D, Illustration 

The site can be found in old Florence, now North Omaha, at the intersection of State and 
33rd streets. 

It is estimated that some 600 Mormon emigrants died in the Winter Quarters area, many 
were buried here during 1846-1852. There are several markers in and near the cemetery. 

In this cemetery are some of the finest works of sculpture produced by the Mormon 
Church. One should note the bronze memorial gates to the front and rear and the 
nine-foot-tall bronze statue of a grieving family within the cemetery, all by Avard Fairbanks. 


About 4 miles west of the Mormon Pioneer Memorial bridge on Highway 36 is the first 
monument to the exodus across Nebraska. It is located at the intersection of Old 36 and 
Seventy-Second Street, at the southern boundary of the North Omaha Airport. The marker 
was placed by the Daughters of Utah Pioneers in April 1947. 


The text is: 

On April 15, 1847, in this vicinity the Mormon Pioneers en route from Nauvoo, 
Illinois to the Rocky Mountains made their first camp after leaving Winter Quarters 
on the west bank of the Missouri River 5 miles north of Omaha, Nebraska, where 
they spent the winter of 1846-47. Heber C. Kimball, a twelve apostle [a member of 
the Twelve Apostles] of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints and close 
friend of President Brigham Young, led the first company, thus forming the nucleus 
for the gathering of the groups that followed.... 


The pioneer crossing of this first natural obstacle in Nebraska was approximately where 
U.S. 6 crosses this river today, near Waterloo, Douglas County. There is no marker here. 


This historic staging ground site is near Fremont, Dodge County, in sec. 21, T17N, R8E. 
There is nothing to be seen today. 

Once across the Elkhorn, the pioneers headed for the broad and gentle valley or floodplain 
of the Platte River. This staging ground, later named the Liberty Pole Camp (from a large 
Cottonwood pole erected there July 4, 1847, by the Second Company of pioneers), was 
located approximately one-quarter of a mile from the Platte River, southwest of Fremont 
and west of U.S. 77. The pole remained until at least 1857. There is no marker here. 

A Utah Pioneer Trails and Landmarks Association marker in Barnard Park in Fremont 
(between Irving and Clarkson streets on Military Avenue), however, commemorates this 
staging ground. 

The text is: 

THE MORMON PIONEER TRAIL. The Mormon Pioneer Trail from Nauvoo, 
Illinois to the Rocky Mountains passed here April 17, 1847. In this vicinity a 
military-type organization was formed with Brigham Young, lieutenant general; 
Stephen Markham, colonel; John Pack and Shadrack Roundy, majors; and captains 
of hundreds, fifties and tens. In the company were 143 men, 3 women, and 2 boys.... 

24. GENOA HISTORIC SITE: NR, 10/15/70, 70000373 

In 1857, the Mormons founded this community, which still exists, in Nance County in 1857 
as a way-station on their trail west. It was also a station for the Brigham Young Express 
Company of 1856-1857. (See page 69.) The Mormons were required to abandon it in 1859 
when it became part of a new Pawnee Indian Reservation. 



Although this site is on the National Register, it is so commemorated because it was an 
important Pawnee village from 1859 to 1876. No reference is made to the fact that the 
community of Genoa was founded by the Mormons~a fact confirmed by a Nebraska 
historical marker. The National Register should be amended to include this information. 

The text on this Nebraska Historic marker is: 

GENOA: 1857-1859. Genoa, named by the Mormon Pioneers, was among several 
temporary settlements established by the Church of the Latter Day Saints in 1857, 
along the 1000 mile trail from Florence, as way-stations for the Brigham Young 
Express and Carrying Company, which had the government mail contract to Sah 
Lake City, and as rest supply stops for Saints traveling across the plains. 

Mormons from St. Louis, Florence, and Alton, Illinois were called to establish the 
Genoa settlement in the spring of 1857, and the Colony arrived here on May 16th. 
During the first year, 100 families settled at Genoa and began to fence the land and 
plant crops under the direction of Brother Allen, Mission President. A steam 
powered mill was constructed and log, frame, and sod structures were erected to 
house the settlers and their livestock. 

In the fall of 1859, the Mormon Colony was forced to abandon Genoa when the 
settlement became part of the newly created Pawnee Indian Reservation. Genoa 
served as the Pawnee Indian Agency until 1876, when the Pawnee were removed to 
the Indian Territory and the reservation lands offered for sale. 


This pioneer ford is near Fullerton, Nance County, off Highway 22 in sec 4, T16N, R5W. 
(See Appendix D, Illustration 17.) 

Over the years the Mormons used many fording sites above and below this original 
crossing. There is no marker here. 


This is located at the Grand Island exit off the westbound lane of interstate 80. It 
commemorates the fact that some Mormons wintered on an island near here in the 1850s. 
In this wayside area is a replica of a Mormon handcart next to an informational sign. 




This site meets the same NR criteria as Historic Sites 7 and 10, plus the Sand Hills can 
be considered a significant natural feature still reflecting "the period and associations for 
which the site is significant." ^ (See Appendix D, Illustration 19.) 

These ruts are located 3.5 miles north of U.S. 30 at Sutherland, Lincoln County, in sec. 4, 
T14N, R33W, immediately to the northeast of the Sutherland Bridge over the Platte River. 
They are some of the few, as well as some of the best. Mormon Trail ruts in Nebraska, but 
the Sand Hills must be climbed in order to see them. 

It was just west of here that the famous "odometer" was developed and tried out (see page 


This landmark can be found 2 miles west of Lisco, Morrill County, in sec. 19, T18N, R46W, 
to the north of U.S. 26. 

Many Mormons climbed this promontory to get their bearings. 


This site meets the same NR criteria as Historic Sites 7, 10, and 27. See Appendix D, 
Illustration 20. The site is 8 miles west of Lisco, Morrill County, in sees. 32-33, T19N, 
R47W north of U.S. 26. 

These three erosional remnant buttes were named by English Mormon emigrants who 
thought they resembled castles in their homeland. On Sunday May 23, 1847, Mormon 
leaders climbed the highest bluff, wrote their names on a buffalo skull and placed it at the 
southwest corner. These bluffs remained a prominent landmark on the Mormon Trail 
throughout the immigration period and collectively form the most dramatic landmark on 
the entire Mormon Trail in Nebraska. 


In connection with, but separate from, the bluffs is a very short (less than 100 feet long) set 
of well-defined trail ruts. They can be found three-tenths of a mile east of the ranch road 
leading into the bluff area, just to the north of U.S. 26. 

Ibid., 61. 



About 1.5 miles east of this same ranch road, north of the highway is a Nebraska historical 
marker commemorating Narcissa Whitman, and Eliza Spaulding (the first white women on 
the Oregon Trail), these bluffs, and the Mormons who named them. 


This site meets the same NR criteria as site 7. (See Appendix D, Illustration 21.) 

Three miles east of Scottsbluff, Scotts Bluff County, along U.S. 26, is a pullout where the 
Belt Line Road Crosses the Burlington and Northern Railroad, in sec 30, T22N, R54W. 

This famous grave, one of the few known graves of the approximately 6,000 Mormons who 
died crossing the plains, was discovered in 1899 by Burlington Railroad surveyors who 
changed the right-of-way to save and protect the grave. The grave site is about V4 of a mile 
along the railroad tracks to the west of the pullout. 

In 1902, the Mormon Church placed a marker here. One should first visit the Nebraska 
historical marker information sign at the pullout. 

The text is: 

REBECCA WINTERS. Rebecca Winters... was born in New York State in 1802. 
She was a pioneer in the Church of the Latter Day Saints... In June 1852 the family 
joined others of their faith in the great journey to Utah. It was a pleasant trip across 
Iowa through June, but in the Platte Valley the dread cholera struck. Rebecca saw 
many of her friends taken by the illness, and on August 15 she was another of its 

A close friend of the family, William Reynolds, chiseled the words "Rebecca Winters, 
age 50" on an iron wagon tire to mark the grave.... 

In 1902 a monument was erected by Rebecca's descendants. Rebecca Winters is a 
symbol of the pioneer mother who endured great hardships in the westward 


This site is near Henry, Scotts Bluff County, in sec. 3, T23N, R58W. 

These low, sandy bluffs are about 1 mile east of Henry. They can be reached by a ser\'ice 
road, but the visit is not worth the effort, for the bluffs are visible from U.S. 26. It was 
here on May 30, 1847, that Brigham Young called a special prayer circle on behalf of the 
pioneers with him, those following, and others remaining in Winter Quarters. There is no 
marker here. 




33. FORT LARAMIE AND RUTS: NR, 10/16/66, 66000755 

Approximately 30 miles northwest of the present Wyoming state line traveling on U.S. 26 
(which here follows the old trail quite closely), is the most famous historic site in all 
Wyoming - Fort Laramie, established in 1834. Here the Mormons crossed the North Platte 
River and picked up the Oregon Trail. 

The present Fort Laramie, now a national historic site, dates mainly from the Civil War 
period and little remains of the 1847 fort. At the moment there is no Mormon marker in 
the area, only a brief reference to them in the fort's museum. Between 1986-1987, the 
National Park Service and the Bureau of Land Management cooperated in making some 
nearby, but little-known trail ruts accessible to the public. They can be found by turning 
west on a gravel road from the fort's cemetery and driving a mile or so toward Guernsey. 
There are signs and a pullout to the north of the road. These ruts are known as the "Old 
Bedlam Ruts" today. (Old Bedlam was the nickname of a garrison at Fort Laramie.) 


This site meets the same NR criteria as Historic Sites 7, 10, and 17. (See Appendix, 
Illustration 23.) 

This site is 7 miles west of Fort Laramie, following the river road rather than the plateau, 
in the SE Va of sec. 8, T26N, R65W, Goshen County. 

This hill is a steep and dramatic cut through the river bluffs to the flood plain. Impressive 
trail ruts lead up to the hill from the east. The pioneers and many other Mormons came 
this way. The site is unmarked, difficult to find, on private ground, and permission is 
required to visit it. The author recommends the use of a four-wheel-drive vehicle to get 
to the site. 

35. REGISTER CLIFF: NR, 4/3/70, 70000674 

The site is in the Guernsey State Park, Guernsey, Platte County. 

The famous Register Cliff site is 2 miles west of Mexican Hill and can be reached from 
there only by crossing private ground. Travelers are advised to approach it via Guernsey-it 
is 2.8 miles southeast of that community. Most Mormons seem to have ignored this cliff, 
but later emigrants covered it with names, carving them into the soft sandstone. There is 
an informational marker here. 

36. GUERNSEY OREGON-MORMON TRAIL RUTS: NR, 10/15/66, 66000761 
The site is in the Guernsey State Park, Guernsey, Platte County. 



One and one-half miles beyond Register Cliff are some of the most dramatic ruts of any 
trail in the world-cut shoulder deep through solid rock. (See Appendix D, Illustration 24.) 
This example of ruts is a national historic landmark, and is located a short walk from a 
marked parking area. The interpretive panel near them bears an almost poetic inscription. 

The text is: 

Wagon wheels cut solid rock, carving a memorial to Empire Builders. What manner 
of men and beasts impelled conveyances weighing on those grinding wheels? Look! 
A line of shadows crossing boundless wilderness. 

Foremost, nimble mules drawing their carts, come poised Mountain Men carrying 
trade goods to a fur fair--the Rendezvous. So, in 1830, Bill Sublette turns the first 
wheels from St. Louis to the Rocky Mountains! Following his faint trail, a decade 
later and on through the 1860's, appear straining, twisting teams of oxen, mules and 
heavy draft horses drawing Conestoga wagons for Oregon pioneers. Trailing the 
Oregon-bound avant garde but otherwise mingling with those emigrants, inspired by 
religious fervor, loom footsore and trailworn companies-Mormons dragging or 
pushing handcarts as they follow Brigham Young to the Valley of the Salt Lake. 
And, after 1849, reacting to a different stimulus but sharing the same trail, urging 
draft animals to extremity, straining resources and often failing, hurry gold rushers 
California bound. 

A different breed, no emigrants, but enterprisers and adventurers, capture the 1860's 
scene. They appear, multi-teamed units in draft-heavy wagons in tandem, jerkline 
operators and bullwhackers delivering freight to Indian War outposts and agencies. 
Now the apparition fades in a changing environment. Dimly seen, this last 
commerce serves a new, pastoral society: the era of the cattle baron and the advent 
of settlement blot the Oregon Trail. 


The site is near Guernsey, Platte County, in sec. 4, T26N, R66W. 

These springs were also known as the Emigrant's Washtub because the water is warmer 
than the river (about 70 degrees F). Many Mormons did laundry here. 


About 11 miles southwest of Glendo, Platte County, in sec. 1, T28N, R70W off the 
Esterbrook Road. 

The site is locally known as Mormon Springs although the Mormons did not discover them. 
Heber C. Kimball was simply the first of the 1847 Mormons to see them. 




The site is 3 miles east of Casper in a small riverside park in Evansville, Natrona County. 

40. MORMON FERRY SITE, 1847: NR, 8/12/71, 71000887 

This site is at Fort Caspar in Casper, Natrona County. (The Fort Caspar vicinity is on the 
NR.) This ferry, considered to have been the first commercial ferry on the Platte River, 
was established by the Mormon Pioneers in June 1847. 

There is an excellent Mormon exhibit in the fort museum, a full-size replica of the original 
Mormon Ferry, and a 1932 Utah Pioneer Trails and Landmarks monument on the fort 

The text is: 

THE MORMON FERRY. First Commercial Ferry on the Platte River was 
established Vz mile south of here [this marker has been moved from its original site 
across the river in Mills; there has been an interest expressed in moving the marker 
back to its original site] in June 1847 by Mormon Pioneers on their way to the 
Valley of the Great Salt Lake. 

Brigham Young directed nine men to remain to operate the ferry. They were 
Thomas Grover, Capt. John S. Higbee, Luke S. Johnson, Appleton M. Harmon, 
Edmond Ellsworth, Francis M. Pomeroy, William Empey, James Davenport, [and] 
Benj. E. Stewart. 

The first passengers were Missourians bound for Oregon. The ferry was made of 
two large cottonwood canoes fastened with crosspieces and covered with slabs. It 
was operated by oars. 


This gap is along Poison Spider Road, 10 miles west of Casper, in sec. 10, T33N, R81W. 

Most travelers of the Oregon-California-Mormon Trail passed through this shallow gap in 
the Emigrant Gap Ridge. There is a BLM interpretive site here. 


This site is 6 miles west of Emigrant Gap, Natrona County, on County Road 319, in sec. 
16, T32N, R82W. 

Most of the Avenue was destroyed by road builders. Some emigrant signatures can still 
be found in the area. 




This site is 9 miles west of Avenue of Rocks, Natrona County, on County Road 317 sec. 9, 
T31N, R83W. 

These springs provided the only good water and campground for emigrants between the 
Platte and Sweetwater rivers. They are north of the road by some unused ranch buildings. 


The landmark can be found 1 mile beyond Willow Springs, in sec. 8, T31N, R83W. 

This 400-foot-high hill was originally called Prospect Hill, because from its summit, 
emigrants could see the gentle valley of the Sweetwater River, giving them hope, or good 
prospects, for better water and an easier road. Excellent trail ruts can be seen about V4 
mile northwest of the present road. There is a BLM interpretive site here. 

45. INDEPENDENCE ROCK: NR, 10/15/66, 66000753 

This site is 22 miles past Prospect Hill, Natrona County, in sec. 9, T29N, R86W off 
Highway 220. 

Near this rock, one of the most famous landmarks on the Oregon-California-Mormon Trail, 
emigrants picked up the beneficent Sweetwater River, and followed it west about 93 miles 
to the continental divide at South Pass. The rock was named because some early trappers 
are said to have once celebrated July 4th here. There are information signs, names carved 
and painted on the rock, and bronze plaques, one commemorating the Mormons. 

The text is: 

In honor of the Mormon pioneers who passed Independence Rock, June 21, 1847, 
under the leadership of Brigham Young, on their way to the Valley of the Great Salt 
Lake. And of the more than 80,000 [70,000 is closer to the truth] "Mormon" 
emigrants who followed by ox teams, handcarts, and other means of travel seeking 
religious liberty and economic independence... 


This site meets the same NR criteria as sites 7, 27, and 29. (Appendix D, Illustration 25.) 

The landmark is 6 miles west of Independence Rock on Highway 220, Natrona County, in 
sec. 35, T29N, R877W. It is a 370-foot-high and 1,500-foot-long cleft, or water gap, through 
the Sweetwater Rocks. Emigrant signatures can be found in the gap. There is a BLM 
interpretive site near here on new Highway 220. A station on the Brigham Young Express 
Company route was near here in 1856-1857. 


47 MARTIN'S COVE: NR, 3/8/77, 77001383 

Martin's Cove is 2 miles west of Devil's Gate on old Highway 220, Natrona County, in sec. 
28, T29N, R87W. (See Appendix D, Illustration 26.) 

The actual cove where many Mormons froze to death in 1856 is north of the road, across 
the Sweetwater River adjacent to the Sun Ranch. It is difficult to access (four-wheel-drive 
is recommended), and permission must be secured to visit it. In 1986 some Boy Scouts 
from Layton, Utah, erected a rock cairn on a rise in this cove honoring those who perished 

The 1933 marker put up by the Utah Pioneer Trails and Landmarks Association is to the 
north of old Highway 220, 2 miles west of the Sun Ranch and nearly 2 miles from the cove. 
Permission to drive this private road is required. The general area of the cove is in the 
Rattlesnake Mountains, more than a mile north of the road. 

The text is: 

MARTIN'S COVE. Survivors of Captain Edward Martin's handcart company of 
Mormon emigrants from England to Utah were rescued here in perishing condition 
about Nov. 12, 1856. Delayed in starting and hampered by inferior [hand]carts, it 
was overtaken by an early winter. Among the company of 576, including aged 
people and children, the fatalities numbered 145. Insufficient food and clothing and 
severe weather caused many deaths. Towards the end every campground became 
a graveyard. Some of the survivors found shelter in a stockade and mail station near 
Devil's Gate where their property was stored for the winter. Earlier companies 
reached Utah in safety. 


This site meets the same NR criteria as sites 7, 10, 27 and 36, which is already on the 
National Register. (See Appendix D, Illustration 27.) 

The ruts are east of Jeffrey City, Fremont County, off U.S 287, in sec. 16, T29N, R90W, on 
private land. These are trail ruts cut into solid rock, similar to, but not as dramatic as, the 
trail ruts at Guernsey. 

Split Rock Mountain itself is already on the National Register, 12/22/76, 76001959. It can 
be seen north of the road, a cleft in the Rattlesnake Range. 


Along the Sweetwater River 2 miles north of Jeffrey City, Fremont County, is the famous 
area where the river was crossed three times within a short distance. 




This historic area is 9 miles west of Jeffrey City off U.S. 287/789, Fremont County, in sec. 
32, T30N, R93W. 

Under these famous springs, emigrants could find ice in the summer. A Wyoming 
informational sign is here. 


This site meets the same NR criteria as sites 7 and 47, which are already on the National 
Register. See Appendix D, Illustration 28. 

This site is 7 miles south of Atlantic City, Fremont County, in sec. 35, T29N, R99W. 

This handcart company was a companion of the Martin company (see site 15). In October 
1856, this company was caught in an early blizzard. At least fifteen Mormons froze to 
death and are buried here. In 1932 the Utah Pioneer Trails and Landmarks Association 
marked the site. 

The text is: 

WILLIE'S HANDCART COMPANY. Captain James G. Willie's handcart company 
of Mormon emigrants on the way to Utah, greatly exhausted by the deep snows of 
an early winter and suffering from lack of food and clothing, had assembled here for 
reorganization by relief parties from Utah, about the end of October, 1856. Thirteen 
persons were frozen to death during a single night and were buried here in one 
grave. Two others died the next day and were buried near by. Of the company of 
404 persons 77 perished before help arrived. The survivors reached Salt Lake City 
November 9, 1856. 

52. SOUTH PASS HISTORIC SITE: NR, 10/15/66, 66000754 

The site is west of Atlantic City, Fremont County, sec. 4,. T27N, RIOIW. 

This gentle pass through the Rocky Mountains is considered the "Cumberland Gap of the 
Far West," beyond which in 1847, commenced the fabled land of Oregon. Four miles 
beyond the last bridge over the Sweetwater River is a South Pass Exhibit site just south of 
Highway 28. The site provides an excellent view of the pass and Pacific Springs. 


This site is 4 miles west of South Pass, off Highway 28, in sec. 1, T72N, R102W. 



This was a famous campsite named Pacific Springs because it was the first water that 
flowed to the Pacific Ocean that was seen by westering Americans. 

54. PARTING OF THE WAYS HISTORIC SITE: NR, 1/11/76, 76001962 

This site is 4 miles north of Highway 28, 15 miles northeast of Parson, in sec 4, T26N, 

Here the Oregon Trail continued to the southwest and the Sublette Cutoff turned to the 
right across the Little Colorado Desert on a shortcut to the Bear River. The Bureau of 
Land Management recently installed a historic marker here. 

The text is: 

This part of the trail is called the Parting of the Ways. The trail to the right is the 
Sublette or Greenwood Cutoff and to the left is the main route of the Oregon, 
Mormon, and California Trails. The Sublette Cutoff opened in 1844 because it 
saved 46 miles over the main route. It did require a 50 mile waterless crossing of 
the desert and therefore was not popular until the gold rush period. 

The name tells the story, people who had traveled 1,000 miles together separated at 
this point. They did not know if they ever would see each other again. It was a 
place of great sorrow. It was also a place of great decision--to cross the desert and 
save miles or to favor their livestock. About two-thirds of the emigrants chose the 
main route through Fort Bridger instead of the Sublette Cutoff. 


The site is 12 miles west of Farson, Sweetwater County, in sec. 36, T24N, R108W on 
Highway 28. 

Here, on October 6, 1857, some Mormon guerrillas burned some U.S. army supply wagons 
during the "Utah War" of 1857-1858. There is a marker here. 

The text of this Mormon Church marker is: 

SIMPSON'S HOLLOW. Here on Oct. 6, 1857, U.S. army supply wagons lead [sic] 
by a Capt. Simpson were burned by Major Lot Smith and 43 Utah Militiamen. They 
were under orders from Brigham Young, Utah Territorial Governor, to delay the 
army's advance on Utah. This delay of the army helped effect a peaceful settlement 
of difficulties. 

The day earlier a similar burning of 52 army supply wagons took place near here at 
Smith's Bluff. 




This 1847 ferry site is located 28 miles southwest of Parson, Sweetwater County on Highway 
28 on the Green River, in sec. 18, T22N, R109W. 

The Mormons established this ferry in 1847 to help subsequent Mormons and also as a 
commercial venture. Located near the landmark known as Lombard Buttes, it was often 
referred to as the Lombard Ferry. 

The present Highway 28 bridge crosses the river adjacent to the old ferry site. 


This landmark is 10 miles southwest of Granger, Uinta County, in sec. 25, T18N, R113W 
on old U.S. 30. (See Appendix D, Illustration 29.) 

This magnificently eroded butte acquired its name because some Mormons were supposed 
to have held church services here at one time. 

58. FORT BRIDGER: NR, 4/16/69, 69000197 

The site is in Fort Bridger State Park, Uinta County. 

Six miles beyond Lyman is the second most important fort on the old Mormon Pioneer 
Trail, the first one being Fort Laramie (see Historic Site 33). Here the main Oregon Trail 
(which the pioneers of 1847 picked up nearly 400 miles back, at Fort Laramie) turns north 
and the Mormons continued west about 100 miles on the year-old track of the 
Reed-Donner party into what is now Salt Lake City. (See Appendix D, Illustration 30.) 

There is nothing left here of the original fort of 1843-1844, but there is an excellent fort 
museum with some references to the Mormon presence here. 

In 1855 the Mormons bought Fort Bridger, enlarged it, and built a cobblestone wall around 
it. One small section of the wall is all that is left of the Mormon occupation. Rebuilt by 
the WPA during the Depression, it is located under a shelter at the far end of the fort and 
is marked with a plaque placed there by the Utah Pioneer Trails and Landmarks 
Association. During the summer of 1990, sections of the foundation of this wall were 
excavated by the Western Wyoming College. 

The text is: 

THE MORMON WALL. On August 3, 1855 the Church of Jesus Christ of 
Latter-day Saints concluded arrangements for the purchase of Fort Bridger from 
Louis Vasquez, partner of James Bridger, for $18,000.... A cobblestone wall was 



erected...replacing Bridger's stockade.. .The place was evacuated and burned on the 
approach of Johnston's Army September 27, 1857.... (See Historic Site 62.) 


The site is 12 miles south of Evanston, Uinta County, in sec. 4, T13N, R119W. 

This oil spring, well known to many westering Americans as a source of lubrication for their 
wagons, still flows. It is on private property and permission must be secured to visit it. The 
entrance to the ranch is 3 miles south of the bridge over the Bear River on Highway 150 
south of Evanston. 


This landmark is near the Wyoming-Utah state line, in Uinta County in sec. 26, 

The landmark is a 7,600-foot-high formation of conglomerate rock. It was near here in July 
1847 that Brigham Young was taken sick with tick fever and, as a result, entered the Valley 
of the Great Salt Lake two days after the vanguard did. 



This site meets the NR criteria of sites 7 and 10 and is similar to site 45, which is already 
on the NR. (See Appendix D, Illustration 31.) 

This cave is just off Echo Canyon, Summit County, in sec. 23, T5N,R7E off Interstate 80. 

This famous rendezvous place is covered inside with names of emigrants. It is on private 


These are 21 miles west of Wahsatch, Summit County in Echo Canyon, off Interstate 80 in 
sec. 10, T3N, R5E. See Appendix D, Illustrations 32 and 33. 

They are listed in the National Register as Echo Canyon Breastworks. Near here is what 
is left of an old wooden marker erected by the Utah State Road Commission. 

The text is: 

PIONEER DEFENSE FORTIFICATIONS. In 1857, due to false official reports 
and other misrepresentations, troops under General Albert Sidney Johnston were 



sent to suppress a mythical rebellion among the Mormons. Brigham Young, then 
governor.. .forbade the army to enter Utah on the grounds that there was no 
rebellion and that he had not been officially informed of the government's action in 
sending the troops. 

Strategic places between Fort Bridger and Salt Lake City were fortified. Remnants 
of these fortifications can be seen on the sides of the cliffs in this section of Echo 
Canyon.... Fort Bridger and Fort Supply, then in Utah and owned by the Church, 
were burned. 

Following negotiations between Governor Young and Captain Stewart Van Vliet and 
mediation of Col. Thomas L. Kane, the army was held east of Fort Bridger during 
the winter of 1857-58 and entered Utah without opposition the following spring. It 
was recalled at the outbreak of the Civil War. 


(MPNHT ruts are very rare in Utah-and there are no good ones. These, regrettably, are 
too poor to nominate for the National Register.) 

This is 6 miles west of Henefer, Summit County, in sec. 25, T3N, R3E on Highway 65. 

Here Mormons got their first disheartening sight of the mountains they still had to pass 
through to reach their new Zion. About 100 yards back towards Henefer, just to the north 
of the road, about y4-mile of rather poor trail ruts can be seen. These are some of the verv 
few ruts left of the MPNHT in Utah. 

64. MORMON FLAT HISTORIC SITE: NR, 10/27/88, 88001943 

This site is 17 miles southwest of Henefer, in sec. 14, TIN, R3E. 

Approximately 8 miles southwest of the Hogsback marker on Highway 65, a dirt road goes 
left (south) for 3 miles to Mormon Flat and the presently unmarked mouth of Little 
Emigration Canyon. On elevated ground at the canyon mouth, across unbridged Canyon 
Creek, can be seen some stone breastworks from the Mormon War of 1857-1858. 

The old trail goes 4 miles up this gentle canyon, and is a pleasant hike, to the crest of Big 


This is 19 miles southwest of Henefer, Summit County, on Highway 65, and is the place 
were the pioneers of 1847 and thousands of subsequent emigrants caught their first view of 
their new home--the Valley of the Great Sah Uike. It was also here that Young uttered 



his famous words, "This is the place, drive on." There is a marker here erected by the Sons 
of Utah Pioneers. 

The text is: 

BIG MOUNTAIN. On 19 July 1847, Scouts Orson Pratt and John Brown climbed 
the mountain and became the first Latter-day Saints to see the Salt Lake Valley. 
Due to illness, the pioneer camp had divided into three small companies. On 23 
July, the last party, led by Brigham Young, reached the Big Mountain. By this time, 
most of the first companies were already in the valley planting crops. Mormons 
were not the first immigrant group to use this route into the Salt Lake Valley. The 
ill-fated Donner Party blazed the original Mormon trail one year earlier. They spent 
thirteen days cutting the trail from present-day Henefer into the valley. 

That delay proved disastrous later on when the party was caught in a severe winter 
storm in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The Mormons traveled the same distance 
in only six days. Until 1861, this trail was also the route of California gold seekers, 
Overland Stage, Pony Express, original telegraph line, and other Mormon immigrant 
companies, after which Parley's Canyon was used. 

This monument, erected and dedicated 25 August 1984, by South Davis Chapter, 
Sons of Utah Pioneers. 


(These rare ruts are, sadly, no better than those at Historic Site 63.) 

About 7 miles southwest of Big Mountain on Highway 65, in sec. 35, TIN, R2E, is where 
the trail went up over Little Mountain and entered Emigration Canyon, the canyon that led 
directly, and finally, into the Valley of the Great Salt Lake. There appear to be some trail 
ruts north of the road. (See Appendix D, Illustrations 32 and 33.) 

67. THIS IS THE PLACE MONUMENT: NR, 10/15/66, 66000737 

This monument is on Highway 65 in Pioneer Monument State Park, Salt Lake City. The 
monument and the park are part of the whole Emigration Canyon site on the National 

In 1922, during the Pioneer Diamond Jubilee, a small monument was placed here reading, 
'THIS IS THE PLACE/BRIGHAM YOUNG/JULY 24, 1847." At that time sixty-six 
original pioneers were present. In 1947, to better commemorate the centennial of the 
arrival of the pioneers into the Valley of the Great Salt Lake, a more suitable monument 
was built here in the Pioneer Monument State Park. This massive memorial, sixty feet high 
and eighty-four feet wide, designed by Mahroni M. Young, features fifteen plaques and 
many statues and bas-reliefs honoring not only the Mormon Pioneers, but also others who 



had explored the Great Basin including the American Indians, Fathers Dominquez and 
Esclanate, General W. H. Ashley, Peter Skene Ogden, Etienne Provost, Captain B.L.E. 
Bonneville, Father Jean Pierre De Smet, Thomas Fitzpatrick, Milton W. Sublette, Kit 
Carson, Captain John C. Fremont, and the Reed-Donner party. There is also a visitors' 
center and an outdoor museum in this 500-acre park, which constitutes the end of the 
famous Mormon Pioneer Trail from Nauvoo, Illinois, to Salt Lake City, Utah. 

Also related to the MPNHT in Salt Lake City is the museum of the Daughters of Utah 
Pioneers and the Museum of Church History and Art. 






MAP 1 

New York Saints Trail, 1831, pt. 1 





' C) Mormon Pion««r Tropl Foundation 


Oakland (Harmony) 
^AARONIC PM monument 
OSEPm smith home Site 

Source: Stanley B. Kimball, Discovering Monnon Trails. 



MAP la 

New York Saints Trail, 1831, pt. 2 


o nt* I u nto 

3' CANAi 

i ;0 2i 30 MUtS 

Source: Stanley B. Kimball, Discovering Mormon Trails. 


MAP 2 

Zion's Camp Trail, 1834, Ohio, pt. 1 


Source: Stanley B. Kimball, Discovering Mormon Trails. 



MAP 2a 

Zion's Camp Trail, 1834, Ohio, pt. 2 

OHIO, PT. 2 

' ' r/T \\ ; 

I i L/-1 U! 

I . MONIOOME.r CO I 5,„^j ,o 

L J '/■'-- 

MAP 2b 

Zion's Camp Trail, 1834, Indiana 



— ':::::':'\ 


;tc4£:<Hi|k4- w^-iiiki-ilAVwV^lilirVttk-'-'' Ce'nlcrvillV Rich rn^o n d 


Source: Stanley B. Kimball, Discovering Mormon Trails. 


MAP 2c 

Zion's Camp Trail, Illinois, pts. 1 and 2 




Source: Stanley B. Kimball, Discovering Monnon Trails. 



MAP 2d 

Zion's Camp Trail, 1834, Missouri, pts. 1 and 2 




Source: Stanley B. Kimball, Discovering Mormon Trails. 




The Fremont-Preuss Map, 1843 

Source: John C. Fremont, Report of the Exploring Expedition Lying between the Missouri 
River and the Rocky Mountains... 1843. 





. I 

- i 

! ■ 

i , 




MAP 4 

S.A. Mitchell's New Map of Texas, Oregon, and California, 1846 

Source: Facsimile copy. See also V\/hc'di, Mapping the rransmississippi West, 1540-1S(}1, vol. 

3, 29 and 34-35. 




Major S.H. Long's 1823 Map of the Country Drained by The Mississippi 

Source: Edwin James, Account of An Expedition from Pittsburgh to the Rocky Mountains 
1819-1820 . 




>iir|..,>..l l«»l U Ik. IS 
« H K .1 '■'• /) « H ^ H H 'l 


../..«•./ f, r4/ /..IM. ,;..,/ IH,*. .^,,i» 

'•<V>:tW<>*««tJ5a Aivkltiii < 

Aa>uiiu-d lrv»l <^ ltt« lh-»wi 

i#««*.r.| brvl 

>N li' tl.i lli'i H> Util N1 Mf«B ^•■1 I 



MAP 6 

The Mormon Trail Across Iowa, 1846 

PT. 1 


I W A Y N I C O i^~^\^\J ^ fjAP^ONOOSE CO| 

^■> COME COMf •( .AN' I //"''^7^>^ / I 

. _-— . ■ I .■:iy-_^»''gBifc . : .'^' t : . 's - ^ t ; .■ ■ ■ ■■■■■A ^tf^ //\- 't 

Mo'mort P.onFrr T.oil Foundol. 

> IOWA TRAIL, 1846 

PT. 2 


Source: Stanley B. Kimball, Discovering Mormon Trails. 


MAP 7 

Mormon Trail Across Nebraska, 1847 


, \ 7P 


■ i^° \\ ■ '^' 

• ■ ~~^ ' r rt w 




. PlATTf CO 

- NANCt CO - ..:.>K*^^ 


Many Morhcri S<all«r*d 
Alonff TrotI in Nvbratko 

(c) Mormon P<on««r 
Troi) foundotion 


Source: Stanley B. Kimball, Discovering Momion Trails. 



MAP 8 

Mormon Trail Across Wyoming, 1847, pt. 1 





Many O'tgon , MorMon Tra>l Mork 
Scott*r«d Airoii WyoiMinQ 

Source: Stanley B. Kimball, Discovering Mormon Trails. 


MAP 8a 

Mormon Trail Across Wyoming, 1847, pt. 2 




Source: Stanley B. Kimball, Discovering Mormon Trails. 



MAP 9 

Mormon Trail In Utah, 1847 

Source: Stanley B. Kimball, Discovering Mormon Trails. 


Map 10 

The Handcart Trail Across Iowa, 1855-1857 



10 15 20 25 MILES 

T) M o r m o n Pioneer Trotl FoundoMon 

IOWA, PT. 2 

Source: Stanley B. Kimball, Discovering Mormon Trails. 



Map 11 

The Nebraska City Cutoff Trail, 1864-1866 


G'ond Uland ! 

^' ! 














'■■^O O H a 1 M n 9 

■'•••>, j 

'"■■■■■ I 


P.onecf T.o.l Fo»nda 

t^ iQ ?i 30 wufS 

Source: Stanley B. Kimball, Discovering Monnon Trails. 


Map 12 

The Overland-Bridger Pass Trail, 1862-1868 


conv*rg« n«ar h«r« 

Overland-Bridger Pass Trail 


Source: Stanley B. Kimball, Historic Sites and Markers. 



MAP 13 

Sketch Map of Council Bluffs-Winter Quarters Area, 1846-1853. 

Source: Gail G. Holmes, "The LDS Legacy in Southwestern Iowa." 



MAP 14 

Sketch Map of Winter Quarters, 1846-1847. 

Source: Richard E. Bennett, Monyions at the Missouri 1846-52. 



MAP 15 

National Trails System, 1990 

National Scenic Trails laavi 

® \ 

© DiviiU- 

@ H.mJ.i Trail 

® kv Arc- Trail 

© \alchcv Trace frail 

© \iirlh Counirk Trail 

© Pulomac HcrilaRC I rail 

® I'acilic Crc-.l Trail 

National Historic Trails ^ ■ 

© Id.lar.Kl Trail 

@ jtian tt.>ult>ta IV \n/^ I rail 

® I cms and Clark I rail 

© \lt»rnt»m I'limcvr I rail 

\c/ IVixc iNcvMc r.«.) Ir. 

l) Trail 

© (Xcrnioiiiilain Victorc I rail 

© SinlaK- I rail 

© Trail,.!, Ir.ut 

Source: Report on America's National Scenic, National Historic, and National Recreation 
Trails, 1989-1990, January 1991, National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior. 







Bill of Particulars, 1845 

Bill of Particulars 

For the emigrants leaving this government next spring. 

Each family consisting of five persons, to be provided with- 

1 good strong wagon well cov- 1 good musket or rifle to each male 
crcd with a light box. 

2 or 3 good yoke of oxen be- 
tween the age of 4 and 1 years. 

2 or more milch cows. 
1 or more good beefs. 

3 sheep if they can be obtained. 
1000 lbs. of flour or other bread, 

or bread stuffs in good sacks. 

over the age of twelve years. 
1 lb. powder. 

4 lbs. lead. 

1 do. Tea. 

5 do. coffee. 

100 do. sugar. 

1 do. cayenne pepper. 

2 do. black do. 

3/2 lb. mustard. 

10 do. rice for each family. 

1 do. cinnamon. 

Yz do. cloves. 

I doz. nutmegs. 

25 lbs. salt. 

5 ibs. saleratus. 

10 do. dried apples. 

1 bush, of beans. 

A few lbs. of dried beef or bacon. 

5 Ibs. dried peaches. 

20 do. do. pumpkin, 

25 do. seed grain. 

1 gal. alcohol. 

20 lbs. of soap each family. 

4 or 5 fish hooks and lines. 

15 lbs. iron and steel. 

A few lbs. of wrought nails. 

One or more sets of saw or grist 

mill irons to company of 100 


1 good seine and hook for each 

2 sets of pulley blocks and ropes 
to each company for crossing 

From 25 to 100 lbs. of farming 

and mechanical tools. 
Cooking utensils to consist of bake 

kettle, frying pan, coffee pot, 

and tea kettle. 
Tin cups, plates, knives, forks, 

spoons, and pans as few as will 

A good tent and furniture to each 

2 families. 
Clothing and bedding to each fam- 
ily, not to exceed 500 pounds. 
Ten extra teams for each company 

of 100 families. 

N. B. — In adidtion to the above list, horse and mule teams can 
be used as well as oxen. Many items of comfort and convenience will 
suggest themselves to a wise and provident people, and can be laid, in 
in season; but none should start without filling the original bill.^^ 

Source: Nauvoo Neighbor, October 29, 1845, as cited in B.H. Roberts, A Cot)iprc/iensive 
History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, vol. 1, 539-540. 




Mormon hymn "Come, Come Ye Saints" 

No. 16 

W. Clayton 

Come, Come, Ye Saints 

Come, come, ye Saints, no toil nor labor fear. But with joy wend your way; 
Why should we mourn, or think ourlot is hard? 'Tis not so; all 13 right! 
We'll find the place which God for us prepared, F.r a - way in the West; 
And should we die before our journey's through, Hap-py dayl all is well! 

d—*—T-\ 1 \ rl * — ! -I 

M< (2 J 








-•— -*-T — ^- 

Tho' hard to you this jour-ney may appear, Grace shall be as your day. 
Why should we think to earn a great re- ward, If we now shun the fight? 
Where none shall come to hurt or make a-fraid; There the Saints will be blessed. 
We then are free from toil and sor-row too; With the just we shall dwell. 




t C — en -r — *- *— y -*- F~ 




I — . 1 — 1 — ^ — * — *— 

far for us to 

loins, fresh cour-age 

air with mu - sic 

ives are spared a 



-I — 

-#—- • 

Our use - less cares from 
Our God will nev - er 
ring — Shout prais-es to our 

gain To see the Saints, their 












us to drive; Do this, and joy your hearts will swell— All is well! All is well! 

us for-sake; And soon we'll have this truth to tell— All is welll All is well! 

God and King;Above the rest these words we'll tell— All is well! All is well! 

restob-tain, how we'll make this chorus swell— All is welll All is well! 



Source: Hymns oj the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 




Roster of the Pioneer Camp, 1847 

The personnel of the Pioneer band, was as follows. They arc 
given as divided into companies of "Tens": 

frrsr Ten — Wilford Woodruff, captain: John S. Fowler, Jacob 
D. Burnham. Orson Pratt, Joseph Egbert. John M. Freeman. Marcus 

B. Thorpe, Geo. A. Smith, Geo. Wardle. 

Second Ten — Ezra T. Benson, captain: Thomas B. Grover. 
Barbaras L. Adams. Roswell Stevens. Amasa M. Lyman, Starling G. 
Driggs, Albert Carrington, Thomas Bullock, George Brown. Willard 
Richards. Jesse C. Little. 

Third Ten — Phincas H. Young, captain; John Y. Green. Thom- 
as Tanner. Brigham Young, Addison Everett, Truman O. Angell, 
Lorenzo D. Young, Bryant Stringham. Joseph S. Scofield. Albert P. 
Rock wood. 

Fourth Ten — Luke S. Johnson, captain: John Holman, Ed- 
mund Ellsworth, Alvarus Hanks, George R. Grant, Millcn Atwood, 

Samuel B. Fox, Tunis Rappleyee, Harry Pierce, Wm. Kykes, Jacob 

Fifth Ten — Stephen H. Goddard, captain: Tarlton Lewis, 
Henry G. Sherwood. Zebedee Coltrin. Sylvester H. Earl, John Dixon, 
Samuel H. Marble. George Scholes. Wm. Henrie, Wm. A. Empey. 

Sixth Ten — Charles Shumway, captain; Andrew Shumway, 
Thos. Woolsey. Chauncey Loveland. Erastus Snow, James Craig, Wm. 
Wordsworth. Wm. Vance, Simeon Howd, Seeley Owen. 

Seventh Ten — James Case, captain; Artemas Johnson, Wm. 

C. A. Smoot. Franklin B. Dewey, Wm. Carter, Franklin G. Losee, 
Burr Frost, Datus Ensign, Franklin B. Stewart, Monroe Frink, Eric 
Glines, Ozro Eastman. 

Eighth Ten — Seth Taft, captain; Horace Thorton, Stephen 
Kelsey, John S. Eldredge. Charles D. Barnum, Alma W. Williams, 
Rufus Allen, Robert T. Thomas, James W. Stewart, Elijah Newman, 
Levi N. Kendall. Francis Boggs, David Grant. 

Ninth Ten — Howard Egan, captain; Heber C. Kimball, Wm. 
A. King, Thomas Cloward, Hosea Gushing, Robert Byard, George 
Billings, Edison Whipple, Philo Johnson, Wm. Clayton. 

Tenth Ten — Appleton M. Harmon, captain; Carlos Murray, 
Horace K. Whitney, Orson K. Whitney, Orrin P. Rockwell. Nathaniel 
T. Brown. R. Jackson Redding, John Pack, Francis Pomeroy, Aaron 
Farr, Nathaniel Fairbanks. 

Eleventh Ten — John S. Higbee. captain; John Wheeler, Solo- 
mon Chamberlain, Conrad Klineman, Joseph Rooker, Perry Fitzgerald. 
John H. Tippetts, James Davenport, Henson Walker, Benjamin Rolfe. 

Twelfth Ten — Norton Jacobs, captain; Charles A. Harper 
George Woodward, Stephen Markham, Lewis Barney, George Mills, 
Andrew Gibbons, Joseph Hancock, John W. Norton. 

Thirteenth Ten — John Brown, captain; Shadrach Roundy, 
Levi Jackman, Lyman Curtis, Hans C. Hansen, Mathew Ivory, David 
Powers, Hark Lay (colored), Oscar Crosby (colored). 

Fourteenth Ten — Joseph Mathews, captain: Gilbroid Summc, 
John Gleason, Charles Burke, Alexander P. Chessley. Rodney Badger, 
Norman Taylor, Green Flake (colored), Ellis Fames, who, it will be 
remembered, returned to Winter Quarters from the Pioneer camp on 
the 18th of April on account of sickness. 

Besides the men. there were three women and two children in the 

Source: B.H. Roberts, A Comprehensive History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter- 
day Saints. 




"The Word and Will of The Lord" to Brigham Young, 1847 





Tmp Word and Will of the Loud, given through President Brig. 
r ^Vn^<^ at the\v inter Quarters of the Camp of Israel, Omaha 

Nation, \\ tbl r>unn. J • „x- ^ f^y 'yyy nrnfion tO tie 

January li J^V- P^^^n of organization for migration to the 

xZsT^Admonitions to righteousness-The Lord to be pnusedbothin 
"::' ottl^and of sorr!n,-Needful that Joseph Smith the Prophet 
should have sealed his testivwny loith his blood. 

1. The Word and Will of the 
Lord concerning the Camp of 
Israel in their journeyinRS to the 

2. Let all the people of the 
"Church of Jesus Christ of Latter- 
day Saints, and those who jour- 
ney with them, be organized into 
companies, with a covenant and 
promise to keep all the command- 
ments and statutes of the Lord 
our God. 

3. Let the 'companies be or- 
ganized with captains of hun- 
dreds, captains of fifties, and cap- 

neers to prepare for putting in 
spring crops. 

8. Let each company bear an 
''equal proi)ortion, according to 
the dividend of their property, in 
taking the poor, the widows, the 
fatherless, and the families ol 
those who have gone into the 
army, that the cries of the widow 
and "the fatherless come not up 
into the ears of the Lord against 
this people. 

9. Let each company prepare 
houses, and fields for raisinj; 
grain, for those who are to re- 
main behind this season; and 

tains of tens, with a president ^,^jg jg ^.j^g ^y[\\ of the Lord con- 

1 !• 1 ™„lrt».r. of fHOll' . T* 1_ 

and his two counselors at their 
head, under the direction of the 
'Twelve Apostles. 

4. And this shall be our cove- 
nant—that we will walk m all 
the ordinances of the Lord. 

5. Let each company provide 
themselves with all the teams, 
wagons, provisions, clothing, and 
other necessaries for the journey, 
that they can. 

6. When the companies are or- 
ganized let them jro to with their 
might, to prepare for those who 
are to tarry. 

7. Let each company, with their 
captains and presidents, decide 
how many can go next spring; 
then choose out a suffieient num- 
ber of ablQ-bodied and s'x.pevi 
men, to take teams, seeds, and 
fayming utensili, to go _fta plo- 

V, see B, We. 1. bi Ex, IHiU^it. 
•, SCO t. Bce. i1 i sri4 0, Mfc. 83. 

cerning his people. 

10. Let every man use all nis 
influence and property to remove 
this people to the place where the 
Lord shall locate a 'stake of Zion. 

11. And if ve do this with a 
pure heart, in all faithfulness, ye 
shall be blessed; you shall be 
blessed in your flocks, and m your 
herds, and in your fields, and m 
your houses, and in your fami- 
lies. „, 

12. Let my servants Ezra 1- 
Benson and Erastus Snow organ- 
ize a company. 

13. And let my servants Orson 
Pratt and Wilford Woodruff or- 
ganize a company. 

14. Also, let my servants 
Amasa Lyman and Georga A. 
Smith organize a company. 

15. And appojn^in'esldents^":.' 
^"^eri07V24. i< 38:84-^81. 42;»"- 

captains of hundreds, and of fif- 
ties, and of tens. 

16. And let my servants that 
have been appointed go and teach 
this, my will, to the saints, that 
they may be ready to go to a land 
of peace. 

17. Go thy way and do as I 
have told you, and fear not thine 
enemies; for they shall not have 
power to sto]) my work. 

18. Zion shall be 'redeemed in 
miiH> own due time. 

19. .^nd if any man shall seek 
to build up himself, and seeketh 
not my counsel, he shall have no 
power, and his folly shall be 
made manifest. 

20. Seek ye; and keep all your 
pledges one with another; and 
covet not that which is thy 

21. Keep yourselves from evil 
to take the 'name of the Lord in 
vain, for I am the Lord your God, 
even the God of your fathers, the 
God of Abraham and of Isaac and 
of Jacob. 

22. I am he who led the chil- 
dren of Israel out of the land of 
Egypt; and my arm is stretched 
out in the last days, to save my 
people Israel. 

2.3. Cease to 'contend one with 
anotiier; cease to 'speak evil one 
of another. 

24. Cease di'unkenness; and 
let your words tend to edifying 
one another. 

25. If thou borrowest of thy 
neighbor, thou shalt restore that 
which thou hast borrowed; and 
if thou canst not repay then go 
straightway and tell thy neigh- 
bor, lest he condemn thee. 

26. If thou shalt find that 
ii'hich thy neighbor has lost, thou 
ihalt make diligent searcli till 
ihoii shalt deliver it to him again. 

. f, sfc'u h, .soc, i03, 
I, see o, sec. i'i, k. 

•Ne. ii!l3, ^g!i4. 

63 ;U 


% Ne, 

27. Thou shalt be diligent in 
preserving what thou hast, that 
thou mayest be a 'wise steward; 
for it is the free gift of the Lord 
thy God, and thou art his steward. 

28. If thou art merry, praise 
the Lord with singing, with music, 
with dancing, and with a prayer 
of praise and thanksgiving. 

29. If thou art sorrowful, call 
on the Lord thy God with suppli- 
cation, that your souls may be 

30. Fear not thine enemies, 
for they are in mine hands and I 
will do my pleasure with them. 

31. My people must be tried in 
all things, that they may be pre- 
pared to receive the glory that I 
have for them, even the glory of 
Zion; and he that will not 'bear 
chastisement is not worthy of my 

32. Let him that is ignorant 
learn wisdom by humbling him- 
self and calling upon the Lord 
his God, that his eyes may be 
oiiened that he may see, and his 
ears o]iened that he may hear; 

33. For my Spirit is sent forth 
into the world to enlighten the 
humble and contrite, and to the 
condemnation of the ungodly. 

34. Thy brethren have re- 
jected you and your testimony, 
even the nation that has driven 
you out; 

35. And now cometh the day 
of their calamity, even the days 
of sorrow, like a woman that is 
taken in travail; and their sor- 
row shall be great unless they 
speedily repent, yea, very speed- 

36. For they killed the proph- 
ets, and them that were sent unto 
them; and they have shed 'inno- 
cent blood, which crieth from the 

ground aga inst them. ^_ 

61. h, 3 Nt«, iVia&.'SU. " I. 20";64. SB:J24. 

07:28. 1, B8:B3. 83i2H— 31. Rev. 18:24. 19:2. 
8!l9. Morm. 8)27, 40. 41. Eth, 8:22—24. 

Source: The Doctrine and Covenants of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 


DOCUMENT 4, continued 


37. Therefore, marvel not at 
these thinjfs, iov ye nvo not ytit 
pure; ye can not yet boar tny 
glory; out ye shall behold it if 
ye are faithful in keepinp: all my 
worda that I have given you. from 
the days of Adam to Abraliam, 
from Abraham to Moses, from 
Moses to Josua and his apoatlea, 
and from Jesus and his apoatles 
to Joseph Smith, whom I did call 
upon by mine angels, my min- 
istering servants, and by mine 
own voice out of the heavens, to 
bring forth my work| 

38. Which foundation he did 
lay, and was faithful; and I took 
him to myself. 

39. Many have marveled be- 

cause of hlf death; but it was 
needful thnt he should '"seal his 
testimony with his blood, that he 
might be honored and the wicked 
might be condemned. 

•40. Havq I not delivered vou 

from your enemies, only 
left a witness 

in that 
of my 

I have 

41. Now, therefore, hearken, 
ye people of my church; and ye 
elders listen together; you have 
received my kingdom. 

42, Be diligent in keepinj^ all 
my commanamonts, lest .ludg- 
ments come ui)on you, and your 
faith fail you, and your enemies 
triumph over you. So no more 
at present. Amen and Amen. 

m, sec. 136. 




Andrew Jenson's Tabulation of the Number of Mormon Emigrants by Year 

FROM 1847 TO 1869 

(Andrew Jenson's Compilation) 

1847 About 2,000 

1848 About 4,000 

1849 About 3,000 

1850 About 5,000 

1851 About 5,000 

1852 About 10,000 

1853 About 2,603 


1854 About 3,167 

1855 About 4,684 

1856 About 3,756 

1857 About 1,994 

1858 About 179 

1859 About 809 

1860 About 1,409 

1861 About 1,959 

1862 About 3,599 

Source: "Church Emigration Book," Mormon Church Archives 




DOCUMENT 5, continued 

1863 About 3,646 

1864 About 2,697 

1865 About 1,301 

1866 About 3,333 

1867 About 660 

1868 About 3.232 

Total 68,028 




Pioneer Companies That Crossed the Plains, 1847-1868 


Outfitting Post 

Data of 

Captain of 
Company and 
Company No. 

Number Leaving 
Oullltting Post Data 
People Wagona Arrived 

(J. Ha Journal 
Hltleiy of Ih* 
Roster •-Panial Roolor 


Winter Quarters. 

14 Apr (last 

Brigham Young 



21-24 Jul 1847 

Church Emigration 


date in 1847 
that Brigham 


(Brigham Young 
entered 24th) 

Book. (CEB) 

D U P lesson for Apr, 


Young left 
Winter Quar- 

1959. and Andrew 
Jensons Sio- 
graphical Ency- 
clopedia, vol 4. 
p 693-725 

Winter Quarters. 


Daniel Spencer 


Capt 1st Hundred 


.Peregrine Sessions 



24-25 Sep 1847 

J H 21 Jun 

(Left camp 

Capt. 1 St Filly (1) 

1847. p 6-11. 

on Elkhorn 

River— abl. 

27 mi west 

of Winter 



Ira Eldredge 



19-22 Sep 1847 

J H 21 Jun 


Capt 2nd Fifty 



1847, p 11-16. 



[Also known as 

Parley P Pratt Co.) 

Winter Quarters. 

abt 17 Jun 

Edward Hunter 


Capt 2nd Hundred 


Joseph Home 



29 Sep 1847 

J H 21 Jun 


Capt 1st Fifty (3) 

1847, p. 17-22 


[also known as 
John Taylor Co ] 


19 Jun 

Jacob Foutz (4) 



abt. 1 Oct 

J H 21 Jun 


Capt 2nd Fifty 


1847. p 23-27 

Winter Quarters, 


abt 17 Jun 

17 Jun 

Jedediah M. Grant 
Capt 3rd Hundred 

Joseph B Noble 
Capt 1st Fifty (5) 


29 Sep 1847 

abt 2 Oct 
1847 (and 
during week) 

JH 21 Jun 
1 847, p 28-32 

Source: Deseret News 1976 Church Almanac. 


DOCUMENT 6, continued 



Captain ol Number Leaving 

Dale of Company and Outlining Potl Dale 

OuUIHIng Pe«l 0«panur« Company No. People Wagons Arrived 


19 Jun 

Cspt ?ndFilty 


Winter Quarters, abt 1 7 Jun Abraham Smooi 


Capt 4lh Hundred 

abi 4 Oct 
during week) 

(J H • Journal 
Hlitory olth« 

Roaler •PcniaiRMisr 

J H 21 Jun 
1847. p 33-37 



18 Jun 

George B Wallace 
Capt IslFilty 

Samuel Russell 
Capt 2nd Fifty (8) 


Sep 1847 

25 Sep 1847 

J H 21 Jun 
1847, p 38-44 

J H 21 Jun 
1847, p 44-47 

Winter Quarters. 




21 Jun 

Charles C Rich (9) 
1847. p 48-51 


2 Oct 1847 

JH 21 Jun 

Winter Quarters, 


abt 6 Jun 

Brigham Young 
Capt Isl Division 


20-24 Sep 1848 

J H Supp 
after 31 Dec 
1848, p 1-10 

Winter Quarlers. 

29 May 

Heber C Kimball 
Capt 2nd Division 


24 Sep and 


J H Supp 
after 31 Dec 
1848, p 11-16 

Winter Quarters. 

3 Jul 

Section. 30 
or 31 Jun 

Willard Richards 
Capt 3rd Division 
(Amasa Lyman 
partolco ) 


Richard's 12. 
17. 19 Oct, 
Lyman 10 Oct 

J H Supp 
after 31 Dec 
1848. p 17-20. 

Kanesville. Iowa 
(present day 
Council Blutls) 


Abt 6 Jun 

Orson Spencer and 
Samuel Gully (1) 


22 Sep 1849 

J H Supp 
after 31 Dec 
1849. p 1-2. • 

Kanesville. Iowa 

abt 12 Jul 

Allen Taylor (2) 



abt 10 Oct 

J H Supp 
alter 31 Dec 
1849, p 3-4 • 

Kanesville. Iowa 




Silas Richards (3) 



abt 27 Oct 

J H Supp 
alter 31 Dec 
1849, p 5A-5I • 

Kanesville. Iowa 

4 Jul 

George A Smith 
Dan Jones' Welsh 

370 120 27 and 28 Oct 

or 1849 


[Smith and Benson 

combined) as 

theif companies 

traveled close 


J H Supp 
after 31 Dec 
1849. p 6-8G 

Kanesville. Iowa 

4 Jul 

Ezra T.Benson (5) 

abl 28 Oct 

J H Supp 
Ifter 31 Dec 
1849, p 9-12H* 

Co . Iowa 

18 Apr 

Howard Egan 



7 Aug 

J H Supp 
alter 31 Dec 
1849 p 13-14 
aisoCEB, 1849) 



DOCUMENT 6, continued 


Captain of 


jmber Leaving 

(J H • Journal 
Hltlory otm* 

Date of 

Company and 


g Po«l 


Outdtting Post 


Company No. 




Rotter '.Pani*! Ro«l*r 


Kanesville. Iowa 

3 Jyn 


20 206 


30 Aug 

J H Supp 

after 31 Dec 

1850, p 1 • 

Kanesville. Iowa 

Before 7 Jun 

Benjamin Hawkins (2 


9 Sep 1850 

J H Supp 

alter 31 Dec 

1850, p 2-3* 

Kanesville, Iowa 

Before 12 

Aaron Johnson (3] 


12 Sep 1850 

J H Supp 
after 31 Dec 
1850, p 3-5 • 

Kanesville. Iowa 

Before 7 Jun 

James Pace (4) 


abt 20 Sep 

J H Supp 
after 31 Dec 
1850 p 5-6 • 

Kanesville, Iowa 

4 Jul 

Edward Hunter (5) 



13 Oct 1850 

J H Supp 

(organized at 

[1st Perpetual 

after 31 Dec 

12-mile Creek 

Emigration Fund 

1850, p 7-12' 

near Missouri 



Kanesville. Iowa 

15 Jun 

Joseph Young (6) 


1 Oct 1 850 

J H Supp 

(organized near 

after 31 Dec 

Missouri Biver) 

1850. p. 13-14 


Kanesville, Iowa 

15 Jun (or- 
ganized 12 

Warren Foote(7) 




17 Sep 1850 

J H Supp 
after 31 Dec 
1850 p 15-16 
[heads of 
families m 

Kanesville, Iowa 


Wilford Woodruff 



1 4 Oct 1 850 

J H Supp 

camp 20 Jun 




alter 31 Dec 
1850, p 17-18 • 

Kanesville. Iowa 

abt 20 Jun 

Stephen Markham (9) 


1 Oct 1850 

J.H Supp 

alter 31 Dec 

1850, p 19 • 

Kanesville. lowa 

abl middle 
Jun. 1850 

David Evans (10) 


15 Sep 1850 

J H.Supp 
after 31 Dec 
1850, p 20, also 
J H Supp 
after 31 Dec 
1850, p 21-25, for 
emigrants not in 
above 10 companies.* 


Kanesville. Iowa 

abt 1 May 

JohnG Smith (1) 


some 23 Sep 

J H. Supp 
alter 31 Dec 
1851, p 1 • 

Kanesville, lowa 

abt 10 Jun. 

Easton Kelsey, Lu- 


Shurtleff s 

J H Supp 

turned back 

man A. Shurtleff, 


23 Sep, after 31 


due in In- 

Capt 1st Fifty, 

Allred's group. 

1851,p 4-5 • 

dian trouble. 

Isaac Allred, Capt 

2 Oct 1851 

left again 

2nd Fitly 

29 Jun 





DOCUMENT 6, continued 


Oultining Poll 

Date of 

Captain ol 
Company and 
Company No. 

Numb«r Leaving 
OuKining Poat Dai* 
Paople Wagont Arrived 

(J H • Journal 
HIiloT ol Iho 

Rosier •-PwimMooUf 

Kanesville, Iowa 

21 Jufi 

James W 
Cumrtiings (2) 



some 5 Oct 

J H Supp 
ader 31 Dec 
1851. p 2-3 • 
SeeCEB 1851. 

Kanesville. Iowa 

7 Jul 

John Brown 

(a P E F Company 



28 Sep 1851 

J H Supp 
after 31 Dec 
ie51,P 6A-6G • 

Kanesville, Iowa 

Left Garden 
Grove, Iowa, 
1 7 May; 

Garden Grove Co 
Harry Walton, 

21 60 







24 Sep 1851 

J H Supp 
after 31 Dec 1851, 
p 7-9, also 
CEB1851 under 
Garden Grove Co 

Kanesville. Iowa 

George W Oman 

1 Sep 1851 

Some names in 
J H Supp 
after 31 Dec 
1851. p 1C-12 
may be from 
this company 

Kanesville. Iowa 

before 7 Jul 

Morris Phelps 
1851, p. 10-12. 

abt 28 Sep 

J H Supp 
after 31 Dec 

Kanesville, Iowa 


before 12 

Wilkins Freight 
(Tram includes 


abt 28 Sep 

J H Supp 
after 31 Dec 
1851, p 10-12 

Ben Holliday's 
Freight Tram 


J H Supp 
after 31 Dec 
1851, p 10-12. 

Kanesville. Iowa 

3 Aug 

Thomas A Williams 
Freight Tram 

25 Aug 1851 

J H Supp 
alter 31 Dec 
1851, p 10-12 

Livingston and 
Kincade's Freight 

J H Supp 
alter 31 Dec 
1851, p 10-12 

Kanesville. Iowa 



James W Bay(1) 


abt 13 Aug 

J H Supp • 
alter 31 Dec 
1852. p 1-6 

Kanesville. Iowa 

abt 29 May 

James J Jepson 



some arrived 
10 Sep 

J H Supp • 
alter 31 Dec 
1852, p 7-11 

Kanesville. Iowa 

7 Jun 

Thomas C 0. 
Howell (3) 





27 Sep 1852 

J H Supp • 
alter 31 Dec 
1852, p 12-18 

Kanesville. Iowa 

abt 10 Jun 

Joseph Outhouse 



6 Sep 1 852 

J H Supp • 
alter 31 Dec 
1852, p 19-24 

Kanesville. Iowa 

early June 

John Tidwell (5) 



15 Sep 1852 

J H Supp • 
alter 31 Dec 
1852. p 25 33 




DOCUMENT 6, continueo 


Outlining Post 

Date ol 

Captain ol 
Company and 
Company No. 

Number Leaving 
Outlltling Pott 
P*«ipl« Wsaenn 

abi abi 
238 Si 

abi «bt 
340 N 


t Oei1@§? 

(J H ■ Journal 
HKIon o' <>>• 

Rosier •Partin RMiM 

Kane$vill6. lows 
Kanesville, Iowa 

aariy Juo 

David Wood (6) 

Heofy Bryant man- 
nlng Joliy(7) 

J M lupB • 
alter 31 Bee 
\mS.B 34-49 

alter 31 Dec 
1852. p 41-49 

{8th Company) 
No report 

Kanesvllie. Iowa 


Isaac M. Stewart 



28 Aug 1852 

J H Supp • 
alter 31 Dec 
1852. p 55-61 

Kanesville. Iowa 


Beniamin Gardner 



24 and 27 Sep 

J H Supp • 
alter 31 Dec 
1852. p 61B: 
J H Supp 
24 and 27 Sep 

Kanesville. Iowa 


James McGaw 



20 Sep 1852 

J H Supp • 
alter 31 Dec 
1852. p 67-73 

Kanesville. Iowa 


Harmon Cutler 




JH Supp* 
alter 31 Dec 
1852. p 79-84 

( 1 3tri Company) 
No report 

Kanesville. Iowa 

5 Jul 

Johns Walker 


3 Oct 1 852 

J H Supp • 
alter 31 Dec 
1852. p 89-95 

Kanesville, Iowa Beginning ot Robert Weimer 
Jul (15) 

230 130'' 15 Sep 1852 

Kanesville. Iowa shortly af- 
ter 24 Jun 

Uriah Curtis (16) 

abt 51 1 Oct 1852 


J H Supp • 
alter 31 Dec 
1852. p 96-100. 

J H Supp • 
afler 31 Dec 
1852. p 101- 

Kanesville, Iowa 

Isaac Bullock (17) 


21 Sep 1852 

J H Supp • 
alter 31 Dec 
1852. p 198-111. 

Kanesville. Iowa 

middle o( 

James C. Snow 



9 Oct 1852 

J H Supp • 




atler 31 Dec 
1852. p na- 

Kanesville. Iowa 

ea/ly July 

EliB Kelsey(l9) 
[includes lirst 28 
saints from Scan- 


16 Oct 1852 

J H Supp • 
alter 31 Dec 
1852. p 120-122 

Kanesville. Iowa 

Henry W Miller (20) 

22 abt 

abt 21 Sep 

J H Supp • 




atler 31 Dec 
1852. p 123- 



DOCUMENT 6, continued 



Outlining Pott 

KanosviHe, Iowa July 

Oat« of 

Captain of 
Company and 
Company No. 

Allen Wee»ts (ID 

Number Leaving 
Outtltling Pott 0»i* 
Poool* W«gont Arrived 

(J H • Joumtt 
Hlilorr o« Ihm 

Rottor •■»•»!« Rmiw 



J H Supp • 
alter 31 Dec 
1852. p 129- 

Organized in St 4 Jun (left Thomat Mirsdsn 

Louis lndep0nd<)nc« (32nd Company) 


10 2S«piaS3 

J H Supp • 
aher 31 Dec 
1852. p 144 

1 Jun (left 
Kansas City 

A6rih«mO Smoot 
(tifSI company to 
cross by PE F ] 




J H Supp • 
after 31 Dec 
1852. p 137- 


Six-Mile Grove. 
Iowa or Neb 
(6 miles Irom 
Winter Quarters) 

1 Jun 

David Wilkin(l) 



abt 9 Sep 

JH 15 Jul 
1853. p 2-5. 

Six-Mile Grove. 
Iowa or Neb 

9 Jun 

Daniel A Miller 
and John W Cooley 



tome S«p 

JH 9Sep 
18S3. p 2-24. 
See also J H 
9 Aug 1853. p 2-20 

Keokuk. Iowa 

18 May (left 
Iowa. 1 Jul) 

Jesse W Crosby (3) 79 


abt 10 Sep 

J H. 19 Aug 
1853. p 2 

Keokuk. Iowa 
(organized at 

16 May (left 
29 Jun) 

Moses Ciawson (4) 
(St Louis Company] 

295 56 

abt 15 Sep 


J H 19 Aug 
1853. p 3-7 
See also J H 
7 Aug 1853. p 

Keokuk. Iowa 

abt 3 Jun 

Jacob Gates (5) 
(5tti ODmpany) 

262 33 

26 Sep 1853 

JH 9Sep 
1853. p 25-28 

Keokuk. Iowa 

John E Fofsgren 

294 34 

30 Sep 1853 

JH 30 Sep 
1853, p 3-7. 

21 May 

See Andrew Jenson's History ot the Scandinavian Mission and "Manuscript History o( IheForsgren Company 

Keokuk. Iowa 

1 Jul (left 



Henry Enieman(7) 40 


abt 1 Oct 

J H 19 Aug 
1853. p IB 

Kanesviiie. Iowa 

13 Jul 

(crossed Mis- 
souri River 
at Council 

Vincent Shurtletl 
wagons and a tew 

abt 30 Sep 

no roster 


SeeJH 17 
Jul 1853 and 
31 Aug 1853 
lor mention 


10 Oct 1853 

J H 22 Sep 


1853. p 1B-9 

Keokuk. Iowa 

3 Jun 
River 1 1 

Joseph W Young (9) 402 

Keokuk. Iowa 

3 Jun 
Rrver 1 1 

Cyrus H Wheelock 
(10) (included 
a California 




JH i9Sep 
1853. p 2-7 




DOCUMENT 6, continued 


Outfitting Poit 

Data o( 

Captain ol 
Company «n^ 

Company No . 


' Laavlnfl 
ig Poat 


' Oat« 

1 Arrl«(id 

abl 24 iep 


(J M • Journal 

Keokuk. Iowa or 

Kanesvilie. Iowa 

3 Jun 

Claudius V Sb^i- 




JH i7§ee 
1813, P 19-4 


Keokuk, Iowa or 

Kanesvilie. Iowa 

14 Jul 



Aooleton M 
Harmon (12) 




ne 'ester 

Keokuk, Iowa 

1 Jul 

Jehn Brown (13) 


17 Oct 1853 

no rosier, see 
roster lor ship 
Campillus in "Ms 
History ol Brit- 
ish Mission" 
6 Apr 1853 


Westpon. Mo 
City area) 

IS Jun 

Hans Peter Olsen(l 

) abt 


5 Oct 1854 

no rosier, 
seeJH 5 
Oct 1854, p 1-6 

Westpon, Mo 

abl 17 Jun 

James Brown (2) 



3 Oct 1854 

no roster 

Westpon, Mo 

abt 17 Jun 

Darwin Richardson 



30 Sep 1854 

no roster 

Westpon, Mo 

16 Jun 

Job Smith (4) 
(independent com- 
pany] (IC) 



23 Sep 1854 

no roster 

Westpon, Mo 

2 Jul 

Daniel Garn (5) 
(many members 
crossed ocean on 
ship Windermere] 




1 Oct 1854 

no roster, see 

Ms History of 
British Mis»on, 
22 Feb 1854 

Westpon, Mo 

14 Jul 

Robert L Campbell 
(6lh Company) 


28 Oct 1854 

no rosier, 

see J H 28 Oct 

1854, p 2-34 

left Mis- 
SOun River 
late in Jul 

Initially, Orson 
Pratt and Horace 
S Eldredge Sub- 
sequently, Ezra T. 
Benson and Ira 
Eldredge (7) 

3 Oct 1854 
(Pratt and 
Eldredge 27 Aug] 

no roster, see J H 8 
Aug 1854, p 2-5 

Westpon, Mo 

abt 15 Jul 

William Empey (8) 


24 Oct 1854 

no roster 

Mormon Grove, 
Kan (Near 


7 Jun 




3 Sep 1855 

J H 1 2 Sep 
1855, and 3 
Sep 1855, p 

Mormon Grove. 

13 Jun 

Jacob F Secnst 
(died 2 Jul) sub- 
sequently, Noah T. 
Guyman (2) 



7 Sep 1855 

J H 1 2 Sep 
1855 and 7 
Sep 1855. p 

Mormon Grove. 

15 Jun 

Seth M Blair 
(Blair became 
Mi, succeeded 
on 22 Jun by 
Edward Stevenson) 



11 Sep 1855 

no roster. 




DOCUMENT 6, continued 


Oudinina Poll 

Dale ol 

CapUIn ol 
Company and 
Cempany No ■ 

Number Leaving 
Outfitting Poll Date 
Pwapl* W«gana Arrived 

(J H • Journal 
Minorroi »>• 
Rotter • »v1lal NMUr 

Mermen Orowe, ! Jul Richgrtj iillanlyr>e 

H^n (4) 

40^ 45 


JH 12 Sep 


Mormon @fev§. 

Mormon Qrovs, 


4 Jul 

Meses f Thyfstan 



28 39P1SS5 

J H 1 2 Sep 

34 Jul re- 
leti again 
28 Jul 

Charles A Marper 

305 39 

39 0cMe£S 

JH 12 Sep 

Mormon Grove. 31 Jul Isaac Allred (7) 

Kan [merchandise tram] 


34-38 soma 2 Nov 
others 13 Nov 

JH 12 Sep 

Mormon Grove. 

4 Aug 

Milo Andrus(8) 


24 Oct 1855 

J H. 24 Oct 
1855. p 1-13 


Iowa City. Iowa 

9 Jun 

Edmund Ellsworth 
(Isl Handcart Co ) 


52 26 Sep 1856 
(he) a 
few wag- 

J H 9 Jun 
1856. p 1.26 
Sep 1856. p 

LeRoy Halens Handcarts to Zion (Giendaie. Caiil A H Clark. 1 960) lor rosters on all of the handcart companies 

Iowa City, Iowa 

11 Jun 

Daniel D McArthur 
(2nd Handcart 


48 (he) 26 Sep 1856 



JH It Jun 
26 Sep 1 856. p 

Iowa City. Iowa 

23 Jun(lelt 
30 Jul) 

Edward Bunker 
(3rd Handcart 



60 2 Oct 1856 

(he) 5 

J H 2 Oct 
1856. p 6-12, 
15 Oct 1856. 
P 1 

Iowa City. Iowa 

15 Jul 

James G Wilhe 
(4th Handcart 


120 9 Nov 1856 

(he) 5 


J H 9 Nov 

18-30. J H 
15 Oct 1856. 
P 2 

Iowa City. Iowa 

28 Jul 

Edward Martin 
(5th Handcart 


146(he)30Nov 1856 
carts. 7 

J H 30 Nov 
1856. p 7-8. 
60-76, 15 Oct 
1856. p 2 

Florence. Neb 5 Jun Philemon C Merrill 

(1st Wagon 



13-18 Aug 

J H 5 Jun 
1856. p 1. 

Florence. Neb 
(Now Omaha) 

abt 10 Jun 

Canute Peterson 



20 Sep 1 856 

J H 20 Sep 
1856. p 1-8. 
15 Oct 1856. 
p 12-13 

Florence. Neb 

Middle of 

John Banks (3) 



1-2 Oct 1856 

J H 3 Oct 
1856. p 2-9. 
15 Oct 1856. 
P 3 

Iowa City. Iowa 

30 Jul 

WiihamS Hodgens 




10 Dec 1856 
(some later) 

J H 1 5 Oct 
1856 p 3. 
15 Dec 1856. 
p 1-6 




DOCUMENT 6, continued 


Numb«f Leaving 

Captain of 
Oal* Ql 
Outtltling Poti Departure Company No 

Conipany and OuKIMing Past Date 

P«opla W«Qoni Arrl«»4 

(J M ■ Journal 
HKIorir of Ih* 

Retler 'HKWimomi 

Iowa City. Iowa 

1 Aug 

Pan Jones (ih«n 
John A Huii)(S) 


66 10-15 Dec 1656 

JH 15 Dec 
1856. p 7-15. 
15 Oct 1856. 
P 2 

Mormon Grove. 

10 Aug 

Abraham Smool 
[mostly merchan- 


abt 9 Nov 1856 


some names 
end of 1856 

Iowa City. Iowa 


abt 22 May 

Israel Evans 
(6th Handcan 


28hc 11-12S€p1857 

Iowa City. Iowa 

abt 15 Jun 

Christian Chris- 


68 he 13 Sep 1857 

J H 13 Sep 
1856, p 12- 

(7ih Handcart 
Co ) (first headed 
by James Park. 
David Dille and 
George Thurston] 



Florence, Nebra- 
ska (Omaha) 

13 Jun 

Wllham Walker's 
Freight Tram 



4 Sep 1857 
(others a few 
days later) 

no roster 

Iowa City. Iowa 

early Jun 

Jesse B Martin 
(1st Wagon Co ) 



12 Sep 1857 

no roster 

Iowa City. Iowa 

abt 15 June 

Matthias Cowley(2) 





13 Sep 1857 

no roster 

Iowa City. Iowa early Jun 

Jacob Hof(heins(3) 



21 Sep 1857 

no rosier 

[New York Co 


later the St 

Louis Co ] 

Homer Duncan 

1 4 and 20 Sep 

no roster 

(returning from 


a mission) 

From Texas 


Iowa City. Iowa 


William G. Young 



26 Sep 1857 

no. roster 


(Very tew emigrants crossed the plains in 1 858 due to the approaching U S Army which was sent to suppress a supposed 
rebellion in Utah] 

Iowa City. Iowa 

left Loupe 

Horace S. Eidredge 


13 9 Jul 1858 


Forks Jun 

(1st Wagon 
Company) men 


Iowa City, Iowa 

Middle of 

iverN lversen(2) 


8 20 Sep 1858 

J H 13 Jul 



1858, p 1 

Iowa City, Iowa 

19 Jun 

Russell K Homer(3) 


6 Oct 1858 

no roster, see 

(from ship "John 


Ms History of 


Mission 21 Feb 

1858. p 3-5 


Florence. Neb 

9 Jun 

George Rowley 


60 he 4 Sep 1859 

J H 12 Jun 


(8th Handcart Com- 


1859. p 4 




Haten s Hand- 
carls 10 Zion 


DOCUMENT 6, continued 



Captain ol Number L«*vlng 

Date ol Company and Outfltiing Po«l Oat* 

OutflHIngPosi OapaiiMf* Cotrie«)oy No. P«rople Wagons Arrived 

(J M a Journd 
Hltlorf ol tlM 

Roater •-Pviiii RMUf 

Florence. NeD 13Jun Jsrt^s Bre*ri ill 3S3 59 

(t si Wagon Com- 

Florence. Neb June 

Morton Haigh|(2) 154 71 


29 Aug 1859 

1 Saptess 

J H 12 Jun 
18S9. p 4 

J H. 12 Jun 
1859. p 4 

Florence. Neb 26 or 28 Jun Roben F Neslen 380 56 


15 Sep 1659 

J H. 12 Jun 
1859. p 4 

Florence. Neb 

26 Jun 

Edward Stevenson 

285 54 16 Sep 1859 

no roster 

Geona. Neb 

A S Beckwith 


1 Aug 1859 

J H 1 Aug 

Desert News for 1 4 Sep 1 859 notes that several small companies arrived in Salt Lake City aller 1 Aug 1 859 These Saints may 
have traveled with P H Buzzard s. D Davis. J H Lemon s. F Little s, and Redlield and Smiths Ireight trams 

Florence. Neb 


6 Jun 

Daniel Robinson 
(9lh Handcan 


43 27 Aug 1860 

(he) 6 


J H 31 Dee 
1860 Supp . 
p 13-18 

Florence. Neb 

6 Jul 

Oscar Stoddard 
(10th and last 
Handcart Co ) 


22 he 24 Sep 1860 


J H Supp 
alter 31 Dec 
1860. p 34- 

Florence. Neb 

30 May 

Warren Walling 
(1st Wagon Co) 



9 Aug 1860 

J H Supp 
alter 31 Dec 
1860. p 7-12 

Florence, Neb 

17 Jun 

James D Ross (2) 



3 Sep 1860 

J H Supp 
alter 31 Dec 
1860. p 19- 

Florence. Neb 

19 Jun 

Jesse Murphy (3) 



30 Aug 1860 

J H Supp 
alter 31 Dec 
1860. p 26- 

Florence, Neb 

abl. 15 Jun 

John Smith 
(Patriarch ol 



1 Sep 1860 

J H Supp 
alter 31 Dec 
1860. p 38- 

Florence. Neb 

20 Jul 

William Budge (5) 



5 Oct I860 

J H Supp 
alter 31 Dec 
1860. p 47- 

Florence. Neb 

3 Jul 

John Taylor 
('Iowa' Company) 


1 7 Sep 1 860 

J H Supp 
alter 31. 1B60 
p 58 62 

Florence. Neb 

23 Jul 

Joseph W Young 




3 Oct 1860 

no rosier 

Florence. Neb 

latter part 

Franklin Brown 
(ind CO ) 

Brigham H Young 
(Ireighi tram) 



27 Aug 1860 
14 Sep I860 

no rosier 
no rosier 

Florence. Neb 




DOCUMENT 6, continued 


Captain ol Number Leaving 

Dal* ol Company and Oullltllng PotI Dale 

Outlllling Post D#parlMr« Company No. P90pl9 Wagons Arrived 

(J H a Jouinal 
HIttery elth* 
Rotl«r •PanidRMim 

Florence, Neb 

Florence. Neb. 

Florence, Neb 


29 May 

7 Jon 

abt 20 Jun 

Florence, Neb 13 Jul 

Florence, Neb 13 Jul 

Florence. Neb July 

Oavid H Cannen 
(latChureb iraiP) 

Job Ping ret 
(IndependenI Co 1 

Peter Ranck 
[ind CO ] 

22S §? 


IS Aug 1861 
24 Aug 1661 

abt 8 Sep 1861 

Samuel WooHey 

338 61 22 Sep 1861 

Joseph Porter 
(originally part 
Samuel Woolley 

22 Sep 1861 
Wooley Co 

John R Murdock 
[4Ih Church Tram] 
[mostly Scand- 
inavian Saints from 
ship "Monarch ol the 

12 Sep 1861 

no foster 

J H 24 Aug 

no roster 

Florence, Neb 

25 Jun 

Homer Duncan (4) 



13 Sep 1861 

J H 1 3 Sep 
1861. p 2-5; 
DuncansCEB 1861 

Florence. Neb 

30 Jun 

Ira Eldredge 

[2nd Church Tram] 


15 Sep 1861 

no roster 

Florence. Neb 


Milo Andrus 



12 Sep 1861 

no roster 

Florence. Neb 





Sep 1861 

no roster 

Florence. Neb 

9 Jul 

Joseph Home 
[3rd Church Tram] 


13 Sep 1861 

no roster 

J H 22 Sep 
1861, p 2-11 

roster lor 

no roster, see 
See Ms History ol 
British Mission. 16 
May 1861 

Florence, Neb 1 1 Jul 

Joseph W Young 

and later Heber P. 


[5th Church Tram] 


90 23 Sep 1861 

no roster 

Florence. Neb 1 1 Jul 

Ansel P Harmon 
[Began as Joseph 
W Young Co 
Harmon organized 
27 Jul] 

40 23 Sep 1861 

no roster 

Florence. Neb 16 Jul 

Sixtus E Johnson abt 

52 27 Sep 1861 

no roster 

[In addition to the companies mentioned, several Ireighl trams lelt Florence. Neb during the months ol July and Aug ] 


Florence. Neb 1 7 Jun 

Lewis Brunson 
(Ind CO ) 

212 48 29 Aug 1862 

See Deserel 
News\oi 1861. 
vol 12. p 78 
Also J H 20 
Aug 1862. 
p 2-7 • 




DOCUMENT 6, continued 


Oulfining Po*l 

Oat* ol 

Captain of 
Company and 
Company No- 

Number Leaving 
Outlining PotI Data 
Paopla Wagon* Arrived 

<J H ■ Joumji 
HIalorr otrtm 
Roalar •.^•nitt Hoaiw 

^Isrerice, Neb 

14 Jul 

QIaN L'lienqgisl 
(an ind Sean- 
^inivian Co ) 



23 Sep 1862 

no rosier 

Se« Ms History of Scandinavian Mission lor Apr, 1S62, tor rost«rs of people that lelt Namljurg. Germany Liiienquist was 
leader ot company on ship "Athenia" 

Florence, Neb 

abt Itl 
week in July 

James Warehsm 
(ind co) 



26 Sep 1662 

Deseref News 
lor 1862, vol 
12.0 93 
Also J H 16 Sep 
1862. p 1 

Florence, Neb. 

22 Jul 

Homer Duncan 
(1st Church Tram) 


24 Sep 1862 

J H 16 Sep 
1862. p 1 
Desen News 
vol 12 9.T 

Florence. Neb 

14 Jul 

Christian A Mad- 
sen (indepen- 
ent Scandinavian 



23 Sep 1862 

no roster, 
see Ms History 
ol Scandinavian 
Mission. Apr 
1862. lor ros- 
ter ot ship 

Florence. Neb 

24 Jul 

John R Murdock 
(2nd Church Train) 



27 Sep 1862 

Oeser-ef ^e*s 
1862. vol 12. 
p 93, J H 
16 Sep 1862, 
P 2 

Florence, Neb 

28 Jul 

James S Brown 
(ind CO ) 



2 Oct 1 862 

Partial roster 
See Deseret 
News 1862. vol 
12. p 113 
Also J H 2 
Oct 1862. p 1 

Florence, Neb 

29 Jul 

Joseph Home 
(3rd Church Tram) 



1 Oct 1 862 

Deseret News 
1862. vol 12, 
p 98 Also 
J H 24 Sep 
1862. p 1 

Florence Neb 

abt 30 Jul 

Isaac A Canlieid 
(ind CO ) 


16 0011862 

Deseret News 

1862. vol 12. 

p 93 Also 

J H 16 Sep 

1862. p 3. and 

16 Oct 1862 p 

Florence. Neb. 

early Aug 

Ansel P Harmon 
(4th Church Train) 


5 0011862 

J H 24 Sep 
1862. p 2 
Also Deseref 
Ne*vs 1862. vol 
12. p 98 

Florence. Neb 

8 Aug 

Henry W Miller 
(5lh Church Tram) 



17 0011862 

Oeseref News 

1862. vol 12. 
p 92 

Florence. Neb 

early Aug 

Horton D Haight 
(6lh Church Tram) 



J H 24 Sep 

1862. p 2. 

Also Deseret 

News 1862. vol ^ . ^ 

12. p 98 




DOCUMENT 6, continued 


Captain ol Numb«f Leaving 

Oala of Company and Outfitting Post Oat* 

Outfitting Pott D»p»rtur« Company No P^e'* WM>«n« Arrlvajl 

(J H • JmmM* 
Uflty ml »vt 

Florence, Nab 

14 Aug 

William H Oume 
(7lh Chyteh Tram) 

150 50 29 0eliei2 

J N 34 See 
lBf;3.p 3 

Oessfef Nev*5 
lags, val 12, 

In addition to these companies. • large nui^bar ol Ireight trains brought irtiail companiM ot L 6 S omigrdnit 


Florence, Neb. 


John B Murdoch 
(1 SI Church Tram) 




29 Aug 1863 

no roster, but 

mentioned m 
J H 14 Jul, 
21. 29 Aug 1863 
and Deseret 
News 1863. vol 

13.0 57 

Florence. Neb 

6 Jul 

John F. Sanders 
(2nd Church Tram) 

5 Sep 1863 

no roster. 

but JH 

5 Sep 1863 

and Deseref 

News 1863 

vol 13. 
p 57 

Florence. Neb. 30 Jun 

Alvus H Petlerson 
(ind CO ) 

abt 50 

4 Sep 1863 

J H 4 Sep 
1863. p 1-3 

Florence, Neb 6 Jul 

John R Young 
(ind CO) 

12 Sep 1863 

no roster, 
J H 1 2 Sep 
1863. p 2-9. 
lor camp his- 

Florence, Neb 9 Jul 

Florence. Neb 8 Aug 

William B Preston abt 55 

■(3rd Church Tram) 300 

10 Sep 1863 

Honon D Haight abi 

(6th Church Train) 200 


4 Oct 1863 

no roster. 

J H 5. 16.24 

Aug 1863. and 

Deseret News, 
vol 13. p 64 

Florence. Neb 

25 Jul 

Peter Netieker 
(4th Church Train) 



25 Sep 1863 

no roster 

Florence. Neb 

6 Aug 

Daniel D McAnhur 
(5th Church Tram) 



3 Oct 1 863 

no roster. 

no roster 

Florence. Neb 

9 Aug 

John W Woolley 
(7lh Church Tram) 


4 Oct 1863 

no roster 

Florence. Neb. 

10 Aug 

Thomas E. Ricks 
(8th Church Tram) 



4 Oct 1 963 

no roster. 

Florence. Neb 

11 Aug 

Rosel Hyde 

(9th Church Tram) 


13 Oct 1863 

no roster 

Florence. Neb 

14 Aug 

Samuel D While 
(10th Church Tram) 



15 Oct 1863 

no roster 

Freight Trains under the charge ol Captains Canfield. Jakeman, Shurilitt. and others also lefl Florence, Nebraska, for Salt Lake 



DOCUMENT 6, continued 


CapUIn ol Numb«r Ltaving 

Oa4« Ol Company and Oullining Poai Oala 

OMt(IHln« Po«( Q«p#HMr« Company No. Paopi* Wagena ArrUfd 

(J H • JoumK 
^ . Church) 


Wyoming N«)tt 
(vya§l banK qt 
Miiiseufi Mive* 

ge^ui 40 miips 
south ol Om8h«) 


25 Jun 

Wydming, Neb 29 Jun 

John D C-hase 
(md go ) 

B& 28 

am 20 Sep 

J H 20 Sep 
1864. p 2 

•John H Murdock 
(isl Chyrch Tram) 



2eAgg 1864 

J H 26 Aug 

Wyoming. Neb 8 Jul 

WillismB Pfe*on 
(2n(J ChyfCh Tram) 



1 S S«p 1 864 

Deserei News 

17 Aug 1864, 

u 369. J H 

8 Jul. 1 4 Sep. 
19 0011864^ 

Wyonning. Neb. 1 5 Jul 

Josephs Rswiint abl tbl 
(3rd Church Tram) 400 50 

20 Sap 1864 

D6$erei Mews 

17 Aug 1864, 
p 369 

Wyoming. Neb 1 9 or 22 


William S Warren abt abt 4 Oct 1 863 Deseret News 

(4iri Church Tram) 329 65 17 Aug 1864, 

p 369 

Wyoming. Neb 

27 Jul 

Isaac A Cantieid 
(5lh Church Tram) 



5 Oct 1 864 

Deseret News 
17 Aug 1864. 
p 369* 

Wyoming. Net). 


John Smith 
(Presiding Patn- 
arch) [indT co ) 



1 Oct 1864 

no rosier. 

Wyoming. Neb 9 Aug 

William Hyde abl 62 

(6lh Church Tram) 350 

26 Oct 1864 

Deserei News 
19 Oct 1864. 
p 18 

Wyoming, Neb 

middle Aug 

Warren S Snow 



2 Nov 1864 

no roster. 


Wyommg. Neb 

31 Jul 

Miner G At wood 




8 Nov 1865 

Deserei News 
1865. vol 14 
p 403. J H 
8 Nov 1865 

Wyoming. Nab 

12 Aug 

Henson Walker 



9 Nov 1865 

J H 9Nov 

1865. Deserei 

News 1865. vol 
14, p 403 

Wyoming, Neb 

12. 15 Aug 

William S S 



11 Nov 1865 

J H 29 Nov 




others 29 Nov 

1865. Deseref 

News 1865. vol 
14 p 204 


Wyoming. Nob 

6 Jul 

Thomas E Ricks 
(1$l Church Train) 



4 Sep 1866 

Deserei News 
16 Aug 1868 
Also J H 4 
Sep 1866 

Wyoming. Neb. 7 Jul 

Samuel D White 230 46 5 Sep 1 866 Deserei News 

(2nd Church Tram) 16 Aug 1866 




DOCUMENT 6, continued 


CapUin o> Number t««vlng 

9al« 9( C^iniBany and Oulfltling Poil D«lt 

OutflHIng PotI Bep«Hura e^mpuny No. Pteple Wagon* Arrived 

(J H • Jeuntf 


Rotter •Ptrtiaiiioal* 

Wyoming, N66 13 Jul 

William Hewy 375 m IS Sep 1866 

ChiBmai 60 


J H 15 Sep 
1866, p 3-4 

, Wyoming, Ni6 13 Jul 

JehnB HaH^day 310 69 2a Sep 1 866 
(4lh Chyfeh Train) 

J H 25 Sep 

Wyoming, Netj 4 Ayg 

PsterNebak^f 400 §2 29 Sep 1866 J H 25 Sep 

(Sth Chureh Tfain) 1866* 

Wyoming, Neb H M 

Banisi Thomesan aftt, 85 29 Sep 1866 Those born 

(Sih Shyrcn Train) 50O and died m 

J H 29 Sep 1866* 

Wyoming. Neb. 

2 Aug 

Joseph S Rawlins 
(7th Church Tram) 



1 Oct 1866 

J, H 1 Oct 

Wyoming. Neb 

8 Aug 

AnclrfwM Scsit 
(8tn Church Tram) 



a Oei 1 666 

no roster. 
Ms Hist ol 
Wyoming, Nebraska 

Wyoming, Neb. early Aug Honon B Haight 4 65 15 Oct 1866 

(9th Church Train) families 
(included 500 miles 
ot wire lor Deseret 
Telegraph Line] 

no roster. 

Wyoming. Neb. 

8 Aug 

Abner Lowery 
(10th Church Tram) 


22 Oct 1866 

J H. 22 Oct 


North Platte. Neb, middle Aug 
[Western Terminus ol the Union 

Leonardo Rice 
Pacific Railroad] 



5 Oct 1867 

no roster. 

Laramie, Wyo. ■, 


25 Jul 

Chester Loveland 



20 Aug 1868 

J H 25 Jul 
1868. p 2 

Laramie. Wyo 

25 Jul 

Joseph S Rawlins 



20 Aug 1868 

no roster 

Laramie. Wyo 

27 Jul 

John R MurdOCk 



19 Aug 1868 

no roster 

Laramie. Wyo, 

27 Jul 

Horton D Haight 



24 Aug 1868 

no roster. 

Laramie. Wyo, 

1 Aug 

William S Seeiey 



29 Aug 1868 

J.H 1 Aug 
1868. p 1 

Benton, Wyo. 

13 Aug 

Simpson A Molen 



2 Sep 1 868 

no roster. 

Benton. Wyo. 

14 Aug 

Daniel D McArlhur 



2 Sep 1868 

no roster 

Benton. Wyo. 24 Aug 

John Gillespie 


50 15 Sep 1868 

no roster 

Benton, Wyo. 31 Aug John G Holman abt 62 25 Sep 1868 J H 25 Sep 

650 1868 

Benton. Wyo. 1 Sep 

Edward T. Ivlumford 250 28 24 Sep 1868 J H 24 Sep 

1868. p 1, 


With the arrival ol Holman's and Mumfords trams, travel across the plains with ox or mule teams was terminated The 
construction ol the Transcontinental Railroad from the Missouri River to San Francisco, Calilornia was completed 1 May 
1 869 with the driving ol the last spike at Prommtory Point. Utah. 





Biographical Sketches 

ELIZA ROXCY SNOW, 1804-1887: Mormon poetess, prophetess, priestess, "presidentess," 
and famous pioneer. 

Eliza was a spinster who became a "spiritual wife" of Joseph Smith in Nauvoo, and the most 
important early Mormon female. She later became a plural wife of Brigham Young and 
crossed Iowa in 1846 in his company. She kept an important journal of her trail experience. 
She was a member of the second pioneer company of 1847 and dominated female society 
in Utah until her death. 

Source: Vicky Burgess-Olson, Sister Saints. 



PATTY BARTLETT SESSIONS, 1795-1892: Well-known Mormon Pioneer midwife. 

Patty's legendary 3,977 deliveries earned her the title of "Mother of Mormon Midwifery." 
She and her husband joined the Mormons in 1834 and moved first to Kirtland, Ohio, and 
then to Nauvoo, Illinois. "Mother Sessions" was a member of the original pioneer group 
that quit Nauvoo in February 1846. Her journal, recounting the trails of women crossing 
Iowa and in Winter Quarters, makes sad reading, for her services were constantly in 
demand. Her husband entered into polygamy and their marriage was severely tested 
because of the second wife. 

She was a member of the second company of 1847, arriving in the Valley of the Great Salt 
Lake on September 24th, where she continued midwifing until 1872. 

Source: Vicky Burgess-Olson, Sister Saints. 


Biographical Sketches 

BRIGHAM YOUNG, 1801-1877: Mormon apostle, pioneer, colonizer, second president of 
the Mormon Church. 

Young was born in Windham County, Vermont, June 1, 1801. He later moved to Cayuga 
County, New York, where he married and worked as a carpenter and painter. He joined 
the Mormon Church April 14, 1832, and became a missionary. He followed Joseph Smith 
to Kirtland, Ohio, in 1833, became a member of Zion's Camp in 1834 and a member of the 
first Quorum of 12 Apostles in 1835. 

Thereafter he went on several missions for the church, including one to England in 1840. 
He followed Smith to Missouri and to Nauvoo, Illinois, where he eventually became the 
President of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles. After the murder of Smith in June 1844, 
Young became the presiding authority in the church by virtue of being the senior apostle. 

In this capacity he prepared the Mormons for their exodus to the west, which commenced 
in February 1846. After he led the pioneers into the Valley of the Great Salt Lake, he was 
sustained on December 5, 1847, at Winter Quarters (present Nebraska) and Council Bluffs 
(present Iowa) as second president of the Mormon Church. 

On May 26, 1848, he left the Missouri River settlements for good, leading the 1848 
migration to what is now Utah. Thereafter he lived and worked in Utah until his death in 
1877. He is generally considered to have been the greatest colonizer in the old west. 

Source: Leonard J. Arrington, Brigliam Young: American Moses. 



HEBER CHASE KIMBALL 1801-1868: Apostle, pioneer, first counselor to Brigham 

Kimball was born June 14, 1801, in Franklin County, Vermont. He later moved to Ontario 
County, New York, where he married and worked as a potter and blacksmith. He joined 
the Mormon Church there in 1832. He did missionary work and eventually followed Joseph 
Smith to Kirtland, Ohio, in 1832. He was a member of Zion's Camp in 1834 and became 
a member of the first Quorum of 12 Apostles. He filled several missions, including two to 
England in 1837 and 1840. 

He followed Smith to Missouri and to Nauvoo, Illinois. After the murder of Smith in June 
1844, Kimball became the de facto first counselor to Young and leader of the Mormon 
Church, and in this capacity helped prepare the Mormons for their eventual exodus to the 

From February 1846 through September 1848, he was second only to Young as a leader of 
emigrants west. After he arrived for the last time in Salt Lake City in 1848 he remained 
first counselor to Young until his death in 1868. 

Source: Stanley B. Kimball, Heber C. Kimball: Monnon Patriarch and Pioneer. 


Biographical Sketches 

PARLEY PARKER PRATT, 1807-1857: Missionary, apostle, pioneer. 

Pratt was born in Otsego County, New York; later lived in Ohio; joined the Mormons in 
1830 and went on several missions including to England once in 1840 and again in 1846. 
He followed Smith to Missouri and Illinois. In 1835 he became a member of the first 
Quorum of Twelve Apostles, in which capacity he helped ready the Mormons for their 
exodus across Iowa in 1846. After his 1846 mission to England he led a large 1847 company 
of Saints to Utah. 

Source: Parley Parker Pratt, Autobiography of Farley Parker Pratt. 



PETER HAWS: Little is known of Peter Haws except that he was a captain of 50 pioneers 
across Iowa in 1846. In Winter Quarters he considered himself equal to Young in leading 
the Mormons west. At Winter Quarters he was chastised by Young and the High Council 
of the church for selling liquor to the Indians. He was not one of the pioneers of Utah. 

Source: Varia, bits and pieces here and there, for example, Roberts, A Comprehensive 
History, vol. 3, 53. 


Biographical Sketches 


JOHN TAYLOR, 1808-1887: Apostle, pioneer and third president of the Mormon Church. 

Taylor was born November 1, 1808, in Westmorland County, England. He moved to 
Toronto, Canada, in 1828, where he joined the Mormon Church in 1836. He followed 
Smith to Kirtland, Ohio, where he became an apostle in 1838. He filled several missions, 
including two to England in 1838 and 1846. 

He followed Smith to Nauvoo, Illinois. After Smith's death in 1844 Taylor, as an apostle, 
assisted Young in the direction of the church; and helped lead the pioneers across Iowa in 
1846. After he returned from his 1846 mission to England he had charge of a large 1847 
company of pioneers going to Utah. He became president of the Mormon Church in 1880, 
following the death of Young. 

Source: B. H. Roberts, The Life of John Taylor. 



GEORGE MILLER, 1794-?, after 1848: Second Bishop of the Mormon Church, Pioneer 
of 1846. 

Miller was born November 25, 1794, in Orange County, Virginia. Little is known of Miller. 
He joined the Mormon Church, became the Second Bishop in the Church in Nauvoo in 
1844 and became, as captain of a group of 50, one of the leaders of the exodus across Iowa 
in 1846. In Winter Quarters he argued against settling in the Great Basin and for such 
"insubordination" was released from his calling as a bishop in 1847. He went to Texas in 
1847 and was disfellowshipped in 1848. He did not follow Young west. 

Source: Frank Esshom, Pioneers and Prominent Men of Utah. 


Biographical Sketches 

WILLIAM CLAYTON, 1814-1879: Pioneer, hymnist, clerk of the 1846 and 1847 camp of 
pioneers, author of famous guidebook. 

Clayton was born July 17, 1814, in Lancashire, England, joined the Mormons there in 1837, 
immigrated to Nauvoo, Illinois, in 1840, and became a clerk to Joseph Smith. He was 
prominent in the 1846 Camp Of Israel, being the Company Clerk. It was while crossing 
Iowa that he wrote the words to the now famous Mormon hymn, "Come, Come, Ye Saints." 
In 1847 he was again the Camp Clerk for the pioneers. In 1848 in St. Louis he published 
his famous The Latter-Day Saints' Emigrants' Guide... From Council Bluffs to the Valley of the 
Great Salt Lake. 

Source: William Clayton, William Clayton s Journal. 



ORSON PRATT, 1811-1881: Mormon apostle, mathematician, pioneer. 

Born in Hartford, New York, joined the Mormon Church in 1830; he went on many 
missions for his new faith. He became an apostle in 1835 and in Nauvoo, Illinois, he 
conducted a school for mathematics. 

He crossed the plains with the pioneers of 1847, acting as the scientific member of that 
body. He was the first Mormon to enter the Valley of the Great Salt Lake. 

Source: Andrew Jenson, Latter-day Saint Biographical Enydopaedia. 



Biographical Sketches 

WILFORD WOODRUFF, 1807-1898: Apostle, pioneer, fourth president of the Mormon 

Woodruff was born March 1, 1807, in Hartford County, Connecticut. He later moved to 
New York where he farmed and joined the Mormons in 1833. He followed Smith to 
Kirtland, Ohio, where he became a member of Zion's Camp in 1834. He became an 
apostle in 1839 and went on several missions, including two to England in 1839 and 1844. 
He moved to Nauvoo, Illinois, in 1841. After the death of Smith in 1844, he assisted 
Young in church administration until he returned to England that same year. He 
participated in the 1846 exodus from Illinois and became a member of the pioneer group 
of 1847. It was in Woodruffs wagon that the sick Young entered The Valley July 14, 1847, 
and it was Woodruff who, in 1897, recounted the story about Young having seen The 
Valley of the Great Salt Lake in a vision and saying on July 14, 1847, "This is the place, 
drive on." 

Source: Matthias F. Cowley, Wilford Woodruff, Fourth President of the Church. 





An example of "bone mail." 


An Idealized Representation. 



I r' 

■V V 

Source: B. H. Roberts, ^4 Comprehensive History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day 




Eliza Roxcy Snow 

Source: Vicky Burgess-Olson, Sister Saints. 




Patty Bartlett Sessions 

Source: Vicky Burgess-Olson, Sister Saints. 




Brigham Young, 1853 

Source: Piercy portrait, Frederick H. Piercy, Route From Liverpool to Great Salt Lake 




1846 Exodus From Nauvoo 

Source: Lynn Fausett mural, William E. Berrett, The Restored Church. 




Heber C Kimball, 1853 

^t jT 






w^^-i ^*^ ^^bf- 

X v ^ ■ '^ •v»T^^ ^ 

m f • 

■ 1 . » 

-* 1) ■' 

Source: Piercy portrait, Frederick H. Piercy, Route From Liverpool to Great Salt Lake 




Parley Parker Pratt 

Source: William E. Berrett, The Restored Church. 




John Taylor, 1853 

Source: Piercy portrait, Frederick H. Piercy, Route From Liverpool to Great Salt Lake 




William Clayton 

Source: William E. Berrett, The Restored Church. 




Garden Grove, Iowa 

Source: Author's photo, 1974. 




Peter Hansen drawing of Mt. Pisgah, Iowa, 1846. 


^ — . ) < • • ^ 


— »,. 


^ • 

'* . "» 




~ rs. 



»' ' .'. 


I I y » 


- y^ 

• t, 


■ * 

Source: Stanley B. Kimball, Heber C. Kimball: Monnon Patriarch and Pioneer. 




Mormon Trail ruts, Adair County, Iowa 

Source: Author's photo, 1985 




View of Council Bluffs, Iowa, 1853 

.^ «5;-. *--«3(»i;'»y >* 


Source: Piercy drawing, Frederick H. Piercy, Route from Liverpool to Great Salt Lake 




Peter Hansen drawing of Cutler's Park, Nebraska, 1846 


9'^, ^-RC yi^w75-^T- <?^:n^^> :?^^X' ^f /L-;yjL 


■ MM^ H i<H 

l>r <^" ' *4t ' t. K* .» M ' -T 

ft-'ji'i ':»?»! 

Source: Stanley B. Kimball, Heber C. Kimball, Mormon Patriarch and Pioneer. 



Winter Quarters' Cemetery, Nebraska 


Source: Author's photo, 1974. 




Orson Pratt 

Pioneer of the Pioneers and the First to Stand Upon 
the Site of Salt Lake City. July 21, 1847. 

Source: B. H. Roberts, A Comprehensive History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day 



Loup River, 1853 



_r^ "■- ■'■ ^ 


■,.-"^H. -» 

Source: Frederick H. Piercy, Route From Liverpool to Great Salt Lake Valley. 




Wm. Clayton's Emigrants' Guide, 1848 























Source: W. Clayton, The Latter-Day Saints' Emigrants' Guide... 




Sand Hill Trail Ruts, Nebraska. Platte River at upper right. 

Source: Author's photo, 1975. 




. ^ 








Ancient Ruins Bluffs, Nebraska. Platte River in distance, marked by Cottonwoods. 

j ' »ajii i»'>- 


- ^, 





4 j»# * 

? . j: 

Source: Author's photo, 1974. 




Rebecca Winter's Grave, Nebraska. Dedication 1925. 

Source: Photograph by Paul Henderson, 1925, in possession of author. 



Laramie's Peak, Wyoming 


'■*.,v ■..*<•« 


Source: Frederick H. Piercy, Route From Liverpool to Great Salt Lake Valley. 




Mexican Hill, Wyoming 

Source: Author's photo, 1980. 




Guernsey Ruts, Wyoming, author standing in ruts 

Source: Author's photo, 1979. 




Devil's Gate, Wyoming 

Source: Author's photo, 1974. 




Martin's Cove Handcart Site, Wyoming 

Source: Author's photo, 1979. 




Split Rock Ruts, Wyoming 

Source: Author's photo, 1984. 



Willie's Handcart site 


W atel B VT--J WRwrj*.- 

Source: Author's photo, 1974 




Church Butte, Wyoming 



^,*w -H- :;^f5i;:J f 


Source: Author's photo, 1979. 



Fort Bridger, Wyoming 



i>. jfc«A»-: ».^U>^ ■*.^*- - ~x 

Ut*m State Historical Societ> 

Source: Clarence S. Jackson, Picture Maker of the Old West: William H. Jackson. 




Cache Cave, Utah 

Source: Author's photo, 1980. 



Mormon emigrants in Echo Canyon, Utah, 1860 


Source: Courtesy Union Pacific Archives. 




Mormon emigrant company, Echo Canyon, Utah, 1867. 

Source: Mormon Church Archives. 



Wilford Woodruff 


Source: Rulon S. Howies, The Momion Story: A Pictorial Account. 




Handcart family 

Source: Mormon Church Archives. 







NOTE: Most of the research for this historic resource study is based on twenty-six years 
of fieldwork on the Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail and research in the Mormon 
archives. The notes and bibliography are mainly to guide readers to further information. 

Furthermore, since between Fort Laramie and Fort Bridger in present Wyoming (a distance 
of about 397 miles), the Mormon, Oregon, California, and Pony Express trails are nearly 
identical, some selected studies of the Oregon, California, and Pony Express trails are listed 
in this bibliography. A few studies of the Santa Fe Trail, used by the Mormon Battalion, 
are also listed. 

This bibliography lists but a few of the more than 3,000 printed and unprinted 
contemporary Mormon Trail accounts. For access to these Mormon and also the more 
than 2,000 non-Mormon Trail chronicles, see the works by Bitton, Mattes, Mintz, and 
Townley in this bibliography. This bibliography is largely restricted to the Mormon Pioneer 
National Historic Trail, the route of the pioneers of 1846-1847 between Nauvoo, Illinois, 
and Salt Lake City, Utah, for the period 1846-1869. Mormons used many other trails not 
covered, or only briefly treated, in this bibliography. 


Allen, James B., and Glen Leonard. The Story of the Latter-day Saints. Salt Lake City: 
Deseret Book Co., 1976. The best single volume of Mormon history. 

Arrington, Leonard J. Great Basin Kingdom. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1966. 
Without doubt the best economic history of Mormonism. 

Berrett, William E. The Restored Church. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1963. An 
old, but still useful basic history of Mormonism. 

Billington, Ray Allen. The Far Western Frontier 1830-1860. New York: The University 
Library, 1956. Treats the settlement of each western region in relation to the 
Turner thesis. 

. Westward Expansion. New York: Macmillan Co., 1982. 

Brodie, Fawn M., ed. Frederick H. Piercy, Route from Liverpool to Great Salt Lake Valley. 
Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1962. An illustrated, factual account 
of Piercy's 1853 trip from Liverpool to Salt Lake City. Skimpily edited. 

Cross, Whitney R. The Burned-Over District: The Social and Intellectual History of 
Enthusiastic Religion in Western New York: 1800-1850. New York: Cornell 
University Press, 1950. An essential book regarding Mormon origins. 



De Voto, Bernard. The Year of Decision: 1846. Boston: Little Brown and Co., 1943. A 
classic study presenting the Mormons in the general context of mid- 19th century 

Dick Everett. Vanguards of the Frontier, A Social History of the Northern Plains and Rocky 
Mountains from the Fur Traders to the Sod Busters. Lincoln: University of Nebraska 
Press, 1941. Briefly presents the Mormons as part of the social history of the Rocky 

Hafen, LeRoy. Western America. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1970. A basic 

Hewitt, James, ed. Eye-Witnesses to Wagon Trains West. New York: Charles Scribner and 
Sons, 1973. Firsthand accounts of trail life, one chapter on the Mormons. 

Hillman, Martin. Bridging a Continent, vol. 8 in Encyclopaedia of Discovery and Exploration. 
London: Aldus Books Ltd., 1971. A good general introduction to the westward 
movement. Well illustrated. 

Howies, Rulon S. The Mormon Story: A Pictorial Account. Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 
1957. Interesting and useful. 

Lavender, David. The American Heritage History of the Great West. New York: American 
Heritage Pubhshing Co., 1982. One of the best general treatments of the westward 
movement. Profusely illustrated. 

The Old West. By the editors of Time-Life Books, New York: Prentice Hall Press, 1990. 
Another terrific introduction to the old west. 

Rich, Russell R. Ensign to the Nations. Provo: Brigham Young University Press, 1979. 
A basic text of Mormon history for the period 1846-1972. 

Roberts, B. H. A Comprehensive History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 
6 vols. Salt Lake City: Deseret News Press, Vol. II, 1930. An old, but the most 
extensive history of the Mormons published to date. 

Unruh, John D., Jr. The Plains Across, The Overland Emigrants and the Trans-Mississippi 
West, 1840-1860. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1979. The most 
comprehensive study to date. Excellent. 

Webb, Walter Prescott. The Great Plains. New York: Grosset and Dunlap, 1972. 




Andrews, Thomas F. '"Ho! For Oregon and California!' An Annotated Bibliography of 
Published Advice to the Emigrant, 1841-47." The Princeton University Library 
Chronicle. 33, Autumn 1971: 41-64. 

Flake, Chad. A Mormon Bibliography: 1830-1930. Salt Lake City: University of Utah 
Press, 1979. Definitive. 

. A Mormon Bibliography, 1830-1930: Ten Year Supplement. Salt Lake City: 

University of Utah Press, 1989. Excellent. 

Krol, Helen B. "The Books That Enlightened the Emigrants." Oregon Historical Quarterly 
45, June 1944: 103-123. An essential bibliography of the Oregon Trail. 

Malone, Michael P., ed. Historians and the American West. Lincoln: University of 
Nebraska Press, 1987. An excellent bibliographic study; see especially the chapters 
of the Mormons and transportation. 

Mintz, Lannon W. The Trail: A Bibliography of the Travelers on the Overland Trail to 
California, Oregon, Salt Lake City and Montana during the Years 1841-64. 
Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1987. An excellent work devoted 
largely to "collectible" primary accounts for the benefit of book dealers and 
collectors. Of limited use for the Mormon Trail. 

Rittenhouse, Jack D. The Santa Fe Trail: A Historical Bibliography. Jack D. Rittenhouse: 
Albuquerque, 1986. The best there is to 1971. 

Townley, John M. The Trail West: A Bibliography - Index to Western American Trails, 1841- 
1869. Reno: Jamison Station Press, 1988. Useful. Five star, excellent all around, 
especially on the Mormons. 


Beck, Warren A., and Ynez D. Haase. Historical Atlas of the American West. University 
of Oklahoma Press: Norman and London, 1989. A good, but not excellent atlas. 
Of limited use to trail students. Its extensive bibliography, however, should be 

Franzwa, Gregory M. Maps of the Oregon Trail Gerald, MO.: The Patrice Press, 1982. 
Excellent and useful. The best book of maps of this trail. 



. Maps of the Santa Fe Trail. St. Louis: The Patrice Press, 1989. As good as the 

maps of the Oregon Trail. 

List of Selected Maps of States and Territories. Washington: The National Archives, Special 
List No. 29, 1971. 

Miller, David. Utah History Atlas, np: David E. Miller, 1964. A very general, but useful 
tool. Mimeographed. 

Sale, Randall D., and Edwin D. Karn. American Expansion: A Book of Maps. Lincoln: 
University of Nebraska Press, 1979. Basic, but very useful. 

Wheat, Carl I. Mapping the Trans-Mississippi West, 1540-1861. San Francisco: Institute 
of Historic Cartography, 5 vols., 1957-1963. Essential. 

A serious student of emigrant trails should use county maps and USGS 7.5 minute 
quadrangle maps. Very serious students should also consult the appropriate General Land 
Office Notes and maps. (It is worth remembering that the original surveyor did not 
prepare the maps; others did that on the basis of his notes.) 

See also "Trail Guides" and "Government Publications." Almost all states publish historical 


Arrington, Leonard J. Brigham Young: American Moses. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 
1985. A superior biography. 

Bitton, Davis. Guide to Monjton Diaries and Autobiographies. Provo: Brigham Young 
University Press, 1977. Incomplete, but invaluable. He lists and describes 2,894 

Brooks, Juanita, ed. On the Mormon Frontier: The Diary of Hosea Stout, 1844-61. 2 vols.. 
Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1964. Stout opened a window on Mormon 
history; excellent and brilliantly edited. 

Cannon, John Q., ed. Autobiography of Christopher Layton. Salt Lake City, 1911. 

Clayton, Wm. Journal. Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1921. The best single journal of 
the 1847 trek. 

Cowley, Matthias F. Wilford Woodruff, Fourth President of the Church. Salt Lake City: 
Deseret News, 1909. The best biography of this Mormon leader to date. 



Egan, Howard L. Pioneering the West Richmond, Utah: Egan Estate, 1917. An excellent 
account by a pioneer. 

Esshom, Frank. Pioneers and Prominent Men of Utah, Salt Lake City: Western Epics, Inc., 
1966 (first printed in 1913). Useful biographical sketches. A vanity press type of 

Fish, Joseph. The Pioneers of the Southwest and Rocky Mountain Regions: Mormon 
Migrations and Related Events. Salt Lake City: J. Fish Smith, 1972. An amateurish 
but interesting potpourri of information on the Mormon Trail, early Utah, and seven 
"Lists of Biographical Notes of (seven different groups of) the Pioneers." These lists 
are incomplete, but the biographical notes are useful. 

Hunter, Milton. Brigham Young the Colonizer, 4th ed., revised. Santa Barbara: Peregrine 
Smith, 1973. The best study to date. 

Jenson, Andrew. Latter-day Saint Biographical Encyclopaedia. Salt Lake City: Western 
Epics, 1971 reprint. 

Kimball, Stanley B. Heber C. Kimball: Mormon Patriarch and Pioneer. Urbana: University 
of Illinois Press, 1981. A prize-winning biography. 

Mattes, Merrill, J. Platte River Road Narratives. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1988. 
Monumental. A must as a guide to trail journals. He lists and describes 2,082 

Nibley, Preston. Brigham Young. Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1937. 

Parker, Samuel. Journal of an Exploring Tour Beyond the Rocky Mountains. 1838. 

"The Pioneer Journal of Heber C. Kimball." Utah Genealogical and Historical Magazine 30 
and 31, 1939-1940. One of the best firsthand accounts of the 1847 trek. 

Pratt, Parley Parker. Autobiography of Parley Parker Pratt. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book 
Co., 1961. A pioneer. 

Roberts, B.H. The Life of John Taylor. Salt Lake City: Book Craft, 1963. 

Watson, Elden J., compiler. Manuscript History of Brigham Young: 1846-47. Salt Lake 
City: Elden J. Watson, 1971. A basic source. 




Anderson, William and Eloise. Guide Book to Mormon History. Hayward, CA: the 
authors, 1980. A useful guide for the traveler. 

Burton, Alma P. Mormon Trail from Vermont to Utah. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 
1960. An early, quick guide to the Mormon Trail. Of little use today. 

Clayton, William. The Latter-day Saints' Emigrants' Guide. St. Louis, MO: Steam Powered 
Press, 1848. Clayton's famous guide. 

Driggs, Howard R. Mormon Trail. New York, NY: American Pioneer Trails Association, 
Inc., 1947. An early booklet describing the Mormon westward movement from 
Vermont to Utah. Of little value today. 

Franzwa, Gregory M. The Oregon Trail Revisited, 4th ed. St. Louis: The Patrice Press, 
1988. Essential, journalistic and detailed. 

Haines, Aubrey L. Historic Sites Along the Oregon Trail. Gerald, MO: Patrice Press, 1981. 
Definitive, a must. 

Hastings, Lansford W. The Emigrants' Guide to Oregon and California. Cincinnati: George 
ConcHn, 1845. 

Kimball, Stanley B. "The Iowa Trek of 1846." The Ensign, August 1971: 36-45. 

ed. W. Clayton's The Latter-day Saints' Emigrants' Guide. Gerald, MO: The 

Patrice Press, 1983. The best edition to date. 

. "Another Route to Zion: Rediscovering the Overland Trail." Ensign, June 

1984: 34-45. One of the best studies of this trail. 

. "The Fort Leavenworth Branch of the Santa Fe Trail in 1846: An Annotated 

Map." in Leo Oliva, ed. The Santa Fe Trail as High Adventure. Topeka: Kansas 
State Historical Society, 1988. 

. Historic Sites and Markers Along the Mormon and Other Great Western Trails. 

Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1988. The best of its kind. Definitive. 

. The Travelers' Guide to Historic Mormon America, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 

17th ed., 1990. A simple, up-to-date, useful, basic guide. 



. and Hal Knight. Ill Days to Zion. Salt Lake City: Deseret Press, 1979. A 

compilation of newspaper stories. 

Long, Margaret. The Oregon Trail Denver: W.H. Kistler Stationery Co., 1954. A classic. 

Mattes, Merrill J. The Great Platte River Road. Lincoln: Nebraska State Historical 
Society, 1969. A classic study. 

Mormon Guide...From Omaha to Salt Lake City, np.: Farmer's Oracle Printer, 1864. 

Mormon Way-Bill to the Gold Mines from the Pacific Springs. Salt Lake City: W. Richards, 
Printer, 1851. Of historic value only. 

Paden, Irene D. The Wake of the Prairie Schooner. Carbondale: Southern Illinois 
University Press, 1970. A classic. 

Peterson, Charles S., et al. Mormon Battalion Trail Guide. Salt Lake City: Utah State 
Historical Society, 1972. Excellent in its day. Now outdated. 

See also "Atlases/Maps," and "Government Publications." 


Atwood, Harriet T. "The Mormon Migration and Adaption to Geography," Vassar Journal 
of Undergraduate Studies 4, 1929: 137-158. Was useful in its day, but now 

is superseded. 

Brown, Joseph E., and Dan Guravich. The Mormon Trek West. New York: Doubleday, 
1980. An interesting study for armchair travelers. 

Cannon, D. James, ed. Centennial Caravan. Salt Lake City: Author, 1948. Details a 1947 
reenactment of the original Mormon trek. 

Carter, Kate B. The Mormons: Their Westward Trek. Salt Lake City: Utah Printing 
Company, 1974. 

Clements, Donald. "Saints and Railroads: Immigration Transportation in Transition." 
UnpubHshed paper 1984. 

Cook, Lyndon W., and Donald Q. Cannon, eds. The Exodus and Beyond: Essays in 
Mormon History. Salt Lake City: Hawkes Publishing Inc., 1980. A useful 
collection of essays highlighting major themes in Mormon history, including 
the Exodus and Colonization. 



Deseret News 1976 Church Almanac. Salt Lake City: Deseret News Press, 1976. Useful 
for a variety of reasons, especially the list of Mormon Pioneer companies. 

Duehlmeier, Fred. D. "The 1847 Mormon Migration." M.A. thesis, University of Utah, 
1977. General. 

Harlan, Edgar R. The Location and Name of the Mormon Trail. Knoxville: Express, 1914. 

Jackson, Richard H., ed. The Mormon Role in the Settlement of the West. Provo: Brigham 
Young University Press, 1978. A collection of articles, one of which is titled 
"The Overland Journey to Zion" by the editor (a geographer) entirely based 
on primary sources. 

Jenson, Andrew. "Church Emigration." The Contributor. 12-13, 1891-1892. A series of 
twenty-two detailed articles on emigration or immigration. 

. "Utah Pioneer Companies." Utah Genealogical and Historical Magazine 8, 

January 1917: 1-6. Dated. 

. Day by Day with the Utah Pioneers of 1847. Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1934. 

A series of newspaper articles. Good reading, many biographical sketches. 

Kasparek, Bob. "A Tour of The Mormon Pioneer Trail." Overland Journal 5, Spring 1987: 
35-40. A general account based on an automobile tour. 

Kimball, Stanley B. "Women, Children, and Family Life on Pioneer Trails." Paper 
presented before the National Convention of the Daughters of Utah Pioneers, 
Salt Lake City, Utah, October 1980. 

. "Red Men and White Women on Mormon Trails, 1847-68, The Captivity 

Narrative in Mormondom." Paper presented before the Mormon History 
Association, Brigham Young University, May 1984. 

. "The Dark Side of Heroism on Mormon Trails: A New Look at the Mythic 

Pioneers." Paper presented before the Mormon History Association, Kansas 
City, Missouri, May 1985. 

. "Love, Marriage, Romance, and Sex on Mormon Trails: 1831-68." Paper 

presented before the Mormon History Association, Salt Lake City, May 1986. 

. "Disease, Trauma, and Medicine on Mormon Trails." Paper presented before 

the Mormon History Association, Utah State University, May 1988. 



. "Disease, Trauma, and Medicine of Mormon Trails, 1831-68." Paper presented 

at the Western History Conference, Wichita, Kansas, 1988. 

. "The Unusual and the Outre on Mormon Trails." Paper presented at the 

Mormon History Conference, Utah State University, 1988. 

. "The Power of Place and the Spirit of Locale: Finding God on Western Trails." 

Journal of Mormon History 16, 1990: 3-9. 

. "The Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail." Encyclopaedia of Mormonism. 

New York: Macmillan, in preparation. 

. "Mormon Trails in Utah." Utah History Encyclopaedia. University of Utah 

Press, in preparation. 

Little, James A. From Kirtland to Salt Lake City. Salt Lake City: author, 1890. Based on 
his personal journal account of immigrating to Utah in 1849. 

Lyon, T. Edgar. "Some Uncommon Aspects of the Mormon Migration." Improvement Era. 
September 1969. 33-40. Insightful. 

Madsen, Brigham D. Gold Rush Sojourners in Great Salt Lake City: 1849-50. Salt Lake 
City: University of Utah Press, 1983. One excellent chapter on the use of 
the Mormon Trail by gold-rushers. 

Mattes, Merrill J. "The Council Bluffs Road: Northern Branch of the Great Platte River 
Road." Nebraska History 65, Summer 1984: 179-194. The Mormon Trail is 
sometimes called the Northern Branch of the Oregon Trail, which in fact it 
was. A very good study of this. 

Murdock, S. "Mormon Trails in the Midwest." Travel 127, January 1972: 58-63. Popular. 

Neff, Andrew L. "The Mormon Migration to Utah, 1830-47." Ph.D. dissertation. University 
of California-Berkely, 1918. Completely out of date. 

Nibley, Preston. Exodus to Greatness: The Story of the Mormon Migration. Salt Lake City: 
Deseret News Press, 1947. An old, orthodox, but still useful interpretation 
of westering Mormons. 

Peterson, Bryan L. "A Geographic Study of the Mormon Migration from Nauvoo, Illinois, 
to the Great Salt Lake Valley (1846-47)." M.A. thesis, University of 
California, Los Angeles, 1941. General. 

Piercy, Frederick H. Route From Liverpool to the Great Salt Lake Valley. Cambridge: 
Harvard University Press, 1962. A firsthand account from the year 1853. 



Richards, Aurelia. Mormon Trail. Salt Lake City: Hawkes, 1980. 

Smart, William B. Exploring the Pioneer Trail Salt Lake City: Young Men's Mutual Assn., 
1958. General, out of date. 

Stansbury, Howard. "Exploration and Survey of the Valley of the Great Salt Lake of Utah 
Including a Reconannoissance [Sic] of the New Route through the Rocky 
Mountains." Senate Executive Document 3 (serial 608), 32 Congress, Special 
Session, March 1851. An account of some early exploring and surveying along 
the Mormon Trail. 

Stegner, Wallace. The Gathering of Zion. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1971. The most 
readable book on the topic. 

Taylor, Philip A. "The Mormon Crossing of the United States, 1840-70." Utah Historical 
Quarterly 25, October 1957: 319-358. General, out of date. 

White, Hiram F. "The Mormon Road." Washington Historical Quarterly 6, October 1915: 
243-250. Out of date. 

Wilcox, Wayne. "Thirty-six Miles of History." Utah Historical Quarterly 23, October 1955: 
363-367. Brief, outdated study of trans- Wasatch route. 

See also "Multiple Trails," "Trail Guides," "Iowa," "Nebraska," "Utah," and "Government 


Agnew, Dwight L. "Iowa's First Railroad." Iowa Journal of History 48, 1950: 1-26. 

. "The Rock Island Railroad in Iowa." Iowa Journal of History 52, 1954: 203- 


Ames, Charles Edgar. Pioneering the Union Pacific. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, 
1967. An excellent introduction of the subject. 

Broadhead, G.C. "Early Railroading in Missouri." Missouri Historical Review 7, 1912-1913: 

Chisum, Emmett D. "Boom Towns on the Union Pacific: Laramie, Benton and Bear River 
City." Annals of Wyoming 53, Spring 1981: 2-13. As good a study as there 
is for general purposes. 



Clevenger, Homer. "The Building of the Hannibal and St. Joseph Railroad." Missouri 
Historical Review 36, 1941: 32-47. Excellent. 

Cornwall, Rebecca and Leonard J. Arrington. Rescue of the 1856 Handcart Companies. 
Provo, UT: Redd Center for Western Studies, 1982. An interesting booklet. 

Gates, Paul W. "The Railroads of Missouri, 1850-70." Missouri Historical Review 26, 1931- 
1932: 126-141. Very useful. 

Hafen, LeRoy R. and Ann W. Handcarts to Zion: 1856-60. Glendale, CA: Arthur H. 
Clark Co., 1960. The best there is on this topic. 

Harlan, Edgar R., ed. "First Mormon Handcart Trip Across Iowa." Annals of Iowa 26, 
October 1936: 444-449. General and brief. Outdated. 

Hulmston, John K. "Transplain Migration: The Trains in Mormon Immigration, 1861- 
68." MS thesis, Utah State University, 1985. The thesis from which his article 
was taken. 

. "Mormon Immigration in the 1860s: The Story of the Church Trains." Utah 

Historical Quarterly 58, Winter 1990: 32-48. The latest and best study of this 

Jensen, Richard L. "Steaming Through: Arrangements for Mormon Emigration from 
Europe, 1869-87." Journal of Mormon History 9, 1982: 3-23. An excellent 
account of railroad emigrants after 1868. 

Kimball, Stanley B. "The LDS and The Railroads." Unpublished paper. 

Kock, Felix J. "The Handcart Brigade." Out West 6, September 1913: 111-114. Totally 
out of date. 

Monaghan, Jay. "Handcarts on the Overland Trail." Nebraska History 30, March 1949: 
3-18. Good study of the carts themselves. 

Overton, Richard C. Burlington West. Harvard University Press, 1941. Excellent. 

. Burlington Route. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1965. The best study of this 

large network. 

Sonne, Conway B. Saints on the High Seas, A Maritime History of Mormon Migration: 1830- 
90. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1983. The best study of its 



Stover, John F. Iron Road to the West: American Railroads in the 1850s. New York: 
Columbia University Press, 1978. Excellent coverage of railroads used by the 

Wakefield, Eliza M. The Handcart Trail Salt Lake City?: Author, 1949. Basically the 
slightly edited 1856 diary of Twiss Bermingham. 

See also "Iowa." 


Gibbons, Boyd. "Life and Death on the Oregon Trail." National Geographic 170, August 
1986: 147-177. Great reading and great photos. 

Lavender, David. Westward Vision: The Story of the Oregon Trail Eyre and Spottiswoode: 
England, 1965. A literary history. 

See also "Multiple Trails," "Trail Guides," "Atlases/Maps," and "Government Publications." 


Golder, Frank Alfred. The March of the Mormon Battalion from Council Bluffs to 
California, Taken from the Journal of Henry Standage. New York: Century, 
1928. One of the best Mormon accounts of this march. Somewhat tangential 
to the Mormon Trail. 

Kimball, Stanley B. "Rediscovering the Fort Leavenworth Military Branch of the Santa Fe 
Trail." Journal of the West 28, April 1989: 59-68. 

. "Rediscovering the Fort Leavenworth Military Branch of the Santa Fe Trail." 

In Mark Gardner, ed. The Mexican Road: Trade, Travel, and Confrontation 
on the Santa Fe Trail Manhattan, Kansas: Sunflower University Press, 1989. 

Tyler, Daniel. A Concise History of the Mormon Battalion in the Mexican War. Chicago: 
Rio Grande Classic, 1964. 

See also "Multiple Trails." 




Hill, William E. The California Trail Yesterday and Today. Boulder, CO: Pruett 
Publishing, 1986. An amateur's collection of maps, guides, diaries, 
illustrations, and photographs. Interesting. 

Steward, George R. California Trail. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1983. A 
scholarly account, including the relationship of the Mormon Trail to the 
California Trail. 

See also "Multiple Trails." 


Jennings, Warren A. "The Army of Israel Marches into Missouri." Missouri Historical 
Review 62, Winter 1968: 107-135. An excellent article. 

Launius, Rodger D. Zion's Camp. Independence, MO: Herald Publishing House, 1984. 
The best study of this topic. 


Goetzmann, William H. Army Exploration in the American West: 1803-63. Lincoln: 
University of Nebraska Press, 1979. Essential. 

Hafen, LeRoy. Old Spanish Trail. Glendale, CA: Arthur H. Clark, Co., 1954. 

Jackson, W. Turrentine. Wagon Roads West: A Study of Federal Surveys and Construction 
in the Trans-Mississippi West, 1846-1869. New Haven: Yale University Press, 
1965. Essential. Excellent bibliography. 

James, Edwin. Account of an Expedition from Pittsburgh to the Rocky Mountains, 1819-20. 
Philadelphia: H.C. Carey, 1823. James was Major Stephen H. Long's 
physician and prepared this official report of Long's western expedition of 
1820. The best account of what later became the Mormon Trail. 

Kimball, Stanley B. Discovering Mormon Trails. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1979. 
A simple, basic study of eleven different Mormon trails. 



Pioneer Trails West. Caxton Printers, Caldwell, Idaho, 1985. A popular study; the one 
chapter on the Mormon Trail is by a recognized scholar, S. George Ellsworth. 

Trails West. Washington, D.C. : National Geographic Society, 1979. A typical National 
Geographic pubhcation of six important western trails, including the Mormon. 

Winther, Oscar Osburn. The Transportation Frontier, Trans-Mississippi West, 1865-1890. 
Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1974. The best study of this 

See also "Trail Guides" and "Atlases/Maps." 


Jenson, Andrew. "Latter-day Saints Emigration from Wyoming, Nebraska: 1864-1866." 
Nebraska History Magazine 27, 1936: 113-127. The best on this topic. 

Lass, William E. From the Missouri to the Great Salt Lake: An Account of Overland 
Freighting. Lincoln: Nebraska State Historical Society, 1972. A first-rate 
study of freighting through the Platte Valley with brief references to the 
Mormon Trail. 

Mattes, Merrill J. "The Northern Route of the Non-Mormons: Rediscovery of Nebraska's 
Forgotten Historic Trail." Overland Journal 8, No. 2, 1990: 2-14. An update 
of his argument of Great River Road. 

Topping, Gary. "Overland Emigration, the California Trail and the Hastings Cutoff." Utah 
Historical Quarterly 56, Spring 1988: 109-127. 


Backman, Milton V., Jr. "The Quest for a Restoration: The Birth of Mormonism in Ohio." 
Brigham Young University Studies 12, Summer 1972, 346-364. 

. The Heavens Resound. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1983. Backman is 

a specialist in Mormon history in Ohio. 

See also "Zion's Camp Trail." 




Jennings, Warren A. "The Expulsion of the Mormons from Jackson County, Missouri." 
Missouri Historical Review 64, October 1969: 41-63. 

LeSuer, Stephen C. The 1838 Mormon War in Missouri. Columbia: University of Missouri, 
1987. Recent and excellent. 


Flanders, Robert B. Kingdom on the Mississippi. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 
1965. Essential to the understanding of the Mormons in Illinois. 

Miller, David and Delia. Nauvoo: The City of Joseph. Santa Barbara: Peregrine Smith, 
1974. Useful. 


Babbitt, Charles H. Early Days at Council Bluffs. Washington, D.C.: Bryon S. Adams, 
1916. Interesting. A good chapter on the Mormons. 

Beitz, Ruth S. "Where the Saints Have Trod." The lowan. Winter 1962: 18-23. Good, 
but very general. 

Bennett, Richard. "Eastward to Eden: the Nauvoo Rescue Mission." Dialogue 19, Winter 
1986: 100-108. 

Durham, Reed C. Jr. "The Iowa Experience: A Blessing in Disguise." Brigham Young 
University Studies 21, Fall 1981: 463-454. More on the Iowa experience than 
just the trail. 

Easton, Susan W. "Suffering and Death on the Plains of Iowa." Brigham Young University 
Studies 21, Fall 1981: 431-439. Just a good start. 

Gentry, Leland H. "The Mormon Way Stations: Garden Grove and Mount Pisgah." 
Brigham Young University Studies 21, Fall 1981: 445-461. Excellent. 



Graham, Bruce L. "The Mormon Crossing of Iowa in 1846." Restoration Trail Forum 11, 
November 1981: 3, 7-8. A three-part article. See also February 1982 and 
May 1982. A short, basic treatment. 

Green, Lida L. "Markers for Remembrance: the Mormon Trail." Annals of Iowa 40, 
Winter 1970: 190-193. A very brief discussion. 

Harvey, R.E. "The Mormon Trek Across Iowa Territory." Annals of Iowa 10, July 1946: 
36-60. Good, but barely adequate. 

Holmes, Gail G. "The LDS Legacy in Southwestern Iowa." The Ensign, August 1988: 54- 
57. Holmes is the expert on this subject. 

Kimball, Stanley B. "The Mormon Trail Network in Iowa, 1838-68." Brigham Young 
University Studies 21, Fall 1981: 417-430. Definitive. 

Palmer, Belle. "The Sojourn of the Mormons at Kanesville, Iowa, 1846-1852." M.A. thesis, 
Colorado State College, 1936. 

Peterson, William J. "Mormon Trails in Iowa." The Palimpsest 47, 1966: 353-384. A local 

Van der Zee, Jacob. "Mormon Trails in Iowa." The Iowa Journal of History and Politics 
12, January 1914: 3-16. Now completely outdated. 

See also "Handcarts" and "Multiple Trails." 


Bennett, Richard. Monnons at the Missouri, 1846-52. Norman: University of Oklahoma 
Press, 1987. The best study of this topic. 

Boye, Alan. The Complete Roadside Guide to Nebraska, St. Johnsbury, VT: Saltillo Press, 
1989. A useful guide to have in the glove compartment of your car. 

Bryson, Conrey. Winter Quarters. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1986. Journalistic, 
but useful. 

Homer, Michael W. "After Winter Quarters and Council Bluffs: The Mormons in 
Nebraska Territory, 1854-67." Nebraska History 65, Winter 1984: 467-483. 
A good study of a neglected topic. 



Kimball, Stanley B. "The Mormon Trail Network in Nebraska, 1846-68: A New Look." 
Brigham Young University Studies 24, Summer 1984: 321-336. Definitive. 

Shumway, Ernest W. "Winter Quarters, Nebraska, 1846-48." Nebraska History 35, June 
1954: 115-125. Superseded by Bennett. 

Steele, Olga Sharp. "Geography of the Mormon Trail Across Nebraska." M.A. thesis, 
University of Nebraska, 1933. Old, but still the single best study of the 

Trennert, Robert A., Jr. "The Mormons and the Office of Indian Affairs: The Conflict over 
Winter Quarters, 1846-48." Nebraska History 53, Fall 1972: 381-400. See also 

Williams, Helen Roberta. "Old Wyoming." Nebraska History Magazine 27, 1936: 79-80. 

See also "Mormon Trail General," "Oregon Trail," and "Multiple Trails." 


Carley, Maurine. "Emigrant Trail Trek No. 10." Annals of Wyoming 32, April 1960: 102- 
123 and October 1960: 218-238. See also treks 4-9 in vols. 29-31. An 
account of an Oregon Trail trek by automobile. Not recommended. 

Noble, Bruce J., Jr. "Marking Wyoming's Oregon Trail." Overland Journal 4, Summer 1986: 
19-31. An excellent study of the history of trail marking in Wyoming and a 
county-by-county hsting of the Oregon Trail markers in that state. 

See also "Mormon Trail General," "Oregon Trail," and "Multiple Trails." 


Creer, Leland H. The Founding of an Empire. Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1947. An 
excellent study of early Utah. 

Ellsworth, S. George. Utah's Heritage. Santa Barbara: Peregrine Smith, Inc., 1972. One 
of the best histories of Utah. 

Fleming, L.A., and A.R. Standing, "The Road to Fortune: The Salt Lake Cutoff." Utah 
Historical Quarterly 33, Summer 1965: 248-271. 



Kimball, Stanley B. "The Golden Road." The Pioneer 27, November-December 1980: 11, 
15, 17, 20. 

. "The Mormon Trail in Utah." Utah History Encyclopaedia. Salt Lake City: 

University of Utah Press, in preparation. 

Morgan, Dale. Utah's Historic Trails. Salt Lake City: Utah Tourist and Publicity Council, 
1960. Touristy. 

Smart, William B. Old Utah Trails. Utah Geographic Series, Inc. Salt Lake City, 1988. 
Popular, beautiful, current, excellent; by a first-rate journalist. 

See also "Mormon Trail General" and "Multiple Trails." 


Arrington, Leonard J., and Susan Arrington Madsen. Sunbonnet Sisters. Salt Lake City: 
Bookcraft, 1984. One of several excellent studies of Mormon Pioneer women. 

Arthur H. Clark Co., publisher. Covered Wagon Women. Glendale, California, being 

Burgess-Olson, Vicky. Sister Saints. Provo: Brigham Young University Press, 1978. 
Another of a growing number of excellent studies on Mormon women. 

Faragher, John Mack. Women and Men on the Overland Trail. New Haven: Yale 
University Press, 1979. Excellent, centers on midwestern farm families and 
their move west. 

Godfrey, Kenneth W., Audrey M. Godfrey, and Jill Mulvay Derr. Women's Voices. Salt 
Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1982. Excellent. 

Holmes, Kenneth L. Covered Wagon Women, Diaries and Letters... Glendale, CA: Arthur 
H. Clark, 1988 (seven volumes to date). This is a series devoted to the 
subject. Excellent. 

Munkres, Robert L. "Wives, Mothers, Daughters: Women's Life on the Road West." 
Annals of Wyoming 42, October 1970: 191-224. An excellent study of Oregon 
Trail women based largely on primary sources. 



Myers, Sandra L. Westering Women and the Frontier Experience 1800-1915. Albuquerque: 
University of New Mexico Press: 1982. An excellent example of the current 
interest in women's history. 

Schlissel, Lillian. Women's Diaries of the Westward Journey. New York: Schocken Books, 
1982. Essential. 

Tullidge, Edward W. The Women of Mormondom. New York: Tullidge and Crandall, 
1877 (1975 reprint). Old but still useful. 

See also "Mormon Trail General" and "Indians/Blacks." 


Arrington, Leonard J. "The Mormons and the Indians, Review and Evaluation." The 
Record. (Friends of the Library) Washington State University, Pullman 1970: 
5-29. An excellent survey. 

Beller, Jack. "Negro Slaves in Utah." Utah Historical Quarterly 2, 1979: 122-126. A good 
up-to-date account. 

Coleman, Ronald G. "Blacks in Utah." in The Peoples of Utah. Helen Z. Papanikolas, ed. 
Salt Lake City: Utah State Historical Society, 1976. The best short study of 
this topic. 

. "Blacks in Pioneer Utah, 1847-69." UMOJA: A Scholarly Journal of Black 

Studies 2, Summer 1978: 96-110. 

Kimball, Stanley B. "Red Men and White Women on Mormon Trails, 1847-68." Dialogue: 
A Journal of Mormon Thought, Winter 1985: 81-88. 

Riley, Glenda. Women and Indians on the Frontier, 1825-1915. Albuquerque: University 
of New Mexico, 1985. 

Utley, Robert M. The Indian Frontier of the American West 1846-1890. Albuquerque: 
University of New Mexico Press, 1984. 

See also "Biographies Journals and Diaries." 




Brown, William E. "The Santa Fe Trail." National Park Service, 1963. (This is a National 
Survey of Historic Sites and Building Study.) 

"The California and Pony Express Trails: Eligibility and Feasibility Study." National Park 
Service, 1987. 

Fremont, John C. Report of the Exploring Expedition Lying between the Missouri River and 
the Rocky Mountains... 1843. Washington: Senate Report No. 243, 27th 
Congress, 3rd Session, 1843. A classic account by the "Pathfinder." 

. A Report of the Exploring Expedition to the Rocky Mountains in the Year 1842. 


Kimball, Stanley B. "Inventory of Historic Sites Along the Mormon Trail." Bureau of 
Outdoor Recreation, 1974. Simple, but useful. 

. "Threatened Sites Study of the Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail." 

National Park Service, 1989. 

Mattes, Merrill J. "State of Nebraska Historic Resource Management Plan." Lincoln, 
mimeographed, 1975. 

"The Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail: Comprehensive Plan." National Park 
Service, 1981. 

"The Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trail Study." Bureau of Outdoor Recreation 
(prepared by the Nebraska State Historical Society), 1974. 

"The Mormon Trail: A Study Report." Heritage Conservation and Recreation Service, 

National Park Service. The Overland Migrations: Handbook 105. Washington, D.C.: 
1980. An excellent but small guidebook. 

National Register Bulletin No. 16. National Park Service, 1986. 

National Trails Assessment. National Park Service, 1986. 

"Old Pioneer Wagon Road." Salt Lake City: U.S. Forest Service, n.d. 



Oregon/Mormon Pioneer National Historic Trails. Wyoming Bureau of Land Management, 

"Oregon National Historic Trail Management Plan (draft)." National Park Service, 1981. 

"Oregon Trail Cultural Resource Study." Wyoming Bureau of Land Management, 1981. 

The Pony Express Stations of Utah...\]i2i\\ Bureau of Land Management, 1979. 

Santa Fe National Historic Trail: Comprehensive Management and Use Plan. National Park 
Service, 1990. 

Western Historic Trails Center: Iowa. "Draft Comprehensive Plan/Environmental 
Assessment." National Park Service, April 1991. 

Wyoming Historic Trails Management Plan. Wyoming Recreation Commission, 1984. 


Bitton, Davis. "American Philanthropy and Mormon Refugees, 1846-49." Journal of 
Mormon History 7, 1980: 63-82. A unique study of non-Mormons helping 
finance the Mormon move west. 

Carter, Kate B. The Story of the Telegraph. Salt Lake City: Utah Printing Co., 1961. A 
good short study. 

Christian, Lewis Clark. "A Study of Mormon Foreknowledge of the American Far West...." 
M.A. Thesis: Brigham Young University, 1972. The best study to date. 

. "Mormon Foreknowledge of the West." Brigham Young University Studies 21, 

Fall 1981, 403-415. An excellent short study. Compare article by Esplin in 
this bibliography. 

The Doctrine and Covenants of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Salt Lake 
City: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1921. Mainly a collection 
of revelations received by Joseph Smith. 

Esplin, Ronald K. "A Place Prepared: Joseph, Brigham and the Quest for Promised 
Refuge in the West." Journal of Mormon History 9, 1982: 85-111. An 
excellent study of who originally planned the Mormon move to the Rocky 



Hymns of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Salt Lake City: Church of Jesus 
Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1985. 

Irving, Washington. The Adventures of Captain Bonneville in the Rocky Mountains and the 
Far West. 1837. 

Jackson, Clarence S. Picture Maker of the Old West. William H. Jackson, New York: 
Charles Scribner and Sons, 1947. An excellent pictorial account of the 
photographs and paintings of WiUiam H. Jackson, "Dean of American 

"Journal History of the Church." Mormon archives. A must for any serious study of 

McConkie, Bruce R. Mormon Doctrine. Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1958. Highly 
opinionated, but the best there is. 

The Mormon Pioneers. The Columbia Records' Legacy Collection, Stereo LS 1024. A 
collection of songs sung by Mormon Pioneers. Contains extensive text. 

Office of Indian Affairs, 1824-1881, M234, National Archives, Washington, D.C. (microfilm). 

Pruday, William E. "They March Their Way West: The Nauvoo Brass Band." Ensign 10, 
July 1980: 20-23. 



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